Climate Change Policy Must Support Our Emission Efficient Agri-food Sector

Addressing the IFA Sustainability and Carbon Seminar in Dublin this morning (Wed), IFA President John Bryan said the development of climate change policy must recognise and support the natural competitive advantage of our agri-food sector.

He said, “IFA favours sectoral plans, as opposed to meaningless target-driven legislation, as a means to addressing climate challenge. Any plan for agriculture must accept the position put forward by Teagasc, McKinsey and others that the sector can achieve further emission reductions of no more than 3-4%”.

John Bryan said emissions per litre of milk have reduced by over 13% since 1990, the beef sector has the fifth-lowest carbon footprint in the EU and the 35% reduction in chemical nitrogen use over the last decade is equivalent to an annual reduction of half a million of carbon dioxide equivalent.

The IFA President said as a major exporting sector, the growth in global demand for sustainably-produced food provides an opportunity for our agri-food industry. “As an emission-efficient and resource abundant producer of food, we are in a prime position to meet the increasing demand.”

John Bryan said the Climate Change Bill must recognise the carbon sinks in forestry and grassland. The agri-food sector must also be given credit for the emission reductions from carbon neutral energy crops such as willow and miscanthus, and it means putting in place viable REFIT tariffs for renewable energy production.

Mr Bryan said the Government must get the legislation right, in framing the policy that will provide a platform for future growth of the sector.

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