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28th Jul 2022

Farmers to be asked to cut carbon emissions by 25% after Government deal

Stephen Porzio

The Irish Farmers’ Association has called the announcement a “potentially devastating blow for Irish farming”.

Government leaders have come to a deal on carbon reductions for the agriculture sector following days of discussion.

Under the agreement, farmers will be asked to cut emissions by 25% by 2030, compared to 2018 levels.

This follows the Government’s Climate Action Plan previously pledging a reduction of between 22% and 30% for the sector by 2030.

The Government leaders had met over the past number of days to discuss the emissions reduction target but only came to an agreement on Thursday afternoon (28 July).

It is reported that Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue had previously refused to go above 24%, while Environment Minister and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan had refused to go below 26%.

In a statement on Thursday evening, McConalogue stressed the need for clear guidance to farmers on the implications of the Government’s decision.

“The Programme for Government and the Climate Act committed us to strong climate action. The world is facing a climate crisis, so such action is absolutely essential,” he said.

“It also recognises the special economic and social role of agriculture and the importance of sustainable food production. I am satisfied that the agreement we have arrived at today strikes an appropriate balance in this regard.

“My priority now is to work with stakeholders on supporting and delivering these targets,” he added.

Meanwhile, President of the Irish Farmer’s Association (IFA) Tim Cullinan described the Government announcement as a potentially devastating blow for Irish farming and the rural economy.

“The Government has agreed to a target without any pathway to get there or any budget to assist farmers to reduce emissions,” he said.

“They have no idea of the economic and social impact of today’s decision on the farming sector or rural Ireland. Farmers across the country will be rightly worried about what this means for their future.

“The implementation plan to achieve the target will be vital. I want to make it clear that any attempt to undermine farmers’ livelihoods or the viability of sector, in order to achieve these targets, will be opposed vigorously by the IFA.

“The Government will have to come forward with real proposals and proper funding to support climate measures including on-farm renewable energy and ensure that farmers get full credit for this.

“We are still strongly of the view that the Government has not complied with the requirements in the Climate Act in relation to carbon leakage and the distinct characteristics of biogenic methane. These will have to be taken on board by the Government.”

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