COMMON SENSE MUST PREVAIL IN CLIMATE TARGET DECISION
ICSA president Dermot Kelleher has said common sense must prevail when it comes to emission reduction targets for the agriculture sector. “A target of 22% is the absolute maximum the agriculture sector can bear; anything higher would be akin to pressing the self-destruct button on the sector,” he said.
“We cannot emphasise strongly enough the need for balance in decision making. Ireland’s vital national interests are dependent on getting the right balance between food security, energy security and climate change targets. Equally, rural communities are totally dependent on a vibrant agriculture sector in both social and economic terms. This cannot be sacrificed for the sake of kudos from the EU Commission at a time when large EU member states such as Germany are ramping up coal production in light of the war in Ukraine.”
“The farmer protests in the Netherlands are a wake-up call for all EU governments that people will not accept an unfair burden being imposed on a narrow sector of society. It is not acceptable to destroy entire communities nor is it acceptable to use draconian measures that in the end, will simply outsource production to countries outside the EU.”
Mr Kelleher was speaking following the revelation that Minister Ryan will not now be bringing sectoral emissions reductions targets before the Cabinet this week as planned. Rather, negotiations with Cabinet colleagues will continue for the time being. The debate at government level is for a target somewhere in the range 22-30%.
“We must get this right; It makes no sense to set targets that are unattainable, and it makes no sense to alienate tens of thousands of farmers in the process. All of us are in this climate emergency together and that should mean everybody making pragmatic decisions together. This is not what is happening however, and farmers are increasingly frustrated by attempts to force an unworkable green agenda on them that fails to consider the real economic and social impacts.”
“We have built this sector up to be worth €14 billion in terms of exports and many more billions in terms of spin-off employment and taxes. It is not in our vital national interest to cast this to one side in the pursuit of unachievable targets. A 22% target is already overly fraught with difficulties; there is no point in completely crushing the viability of the sector with anything more than that and common sense must prevail.”