July 29, 2022
Pathway now needed to meet Agriculture emissions target – Matt Carthy TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture, Matt Carthy TD, has said that it is now incumbent on the Minister for Agriculture to outline the additional measures that will deliver the agreed 25% reduction in agricultural emissions by 2030.

Teachta Carthy said:

“Ireland has never reached Climate Action targets under governments comprising of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Greens. This proves that setting targets without having a plan to implement them is pointless.

“While there has been much debate as to the precise sectoral emission ceiling for Agriculture, there has been little discussion as to how that ceiling will be met in a fair way that protects family farms and the rural communities that depend on them.

“Sinn Féin is absolutely committed to reach net zero to limit global temperatures as well as the interim 2030 target of 51% – our voting record in the Dáil on the Climate Bill and in relation to the carbon budgets reflect exactly that.

“In advance of sectoral targets being agreed, Sinn Féin sought and secured a meeting of the Oireachtas Agriculture Committee with the Department of Climate and Agriculture in order to determine what steps would be required for each percentage point beyond the lower 22% limit.

“Both departments were entirely without answer.

“This will understandably cause concern in rural communities who have seen limited underlying documentation that simply outline broad punitive measures. 

“The best way to deliver emission reductions in agriculture is through assessing the current carbon sequestration, storage and emissions on a farm-by-farm basis. 

“This will allow us to incentivise farmers to reduce emissions, increase sequestration measures such as forestry, land restoration, the use mixed species swards; and engage in other important carbon reduction measures such as renewable energy generation. 

“That means, if necessary, any interventions are directed at those who don’t engage in these positive practices rather than broad sweeping schemes that target everyone.

“The Government has additional reports, data, and models that informed their deliberations in advance of the sectoral targets being set – they must now immediately publish these in-full.

“With all available information it will be possible to have an informed discussion involving all stakeholders, bringing the opposition, environmental bodies and farming organisations fully to the table; and attempting to unite broader Irish society behind a pathway that can actually achieve the climate action desperately needed, in a manner that will not be to the detriment of to ordinary workers families and communities.

“The approach by the current parties of government to Climate Action has too often been punitive, divisive and counter-productive. This has resulted in Ireland missing all Climate Action targets to date. Clearly a sea-change is required.

“Sinn Féin stands ready to work with government to bring forward proposals in the aim of achieving climate objectives. For agriculture, this requires a comprehensive plan outlining the measures proposed. 

“The Minister for Agriculture now has an obligation to produce this plan without delay and to engage with opposition and the sectors on its implementation.”

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