New thinking needed on agricultural emissions policies

7th June, 2012

The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association agrees with the finding of the Economic and Social Research Institute that a new deal is needed on agricultural emissions targets for Europe.  

The ESRI has published its Environment Review 2012, which finds that if we are to meet the targets for increased agricultural production under Food Harvest 2020, Ireland will struggle to meet its emissions obligations.  

ICSA President Gabriel Gilmartin said, “on the one hand, Food Harvest 2020 says we must strive to dramatically increase agricultural production – but on the other, we are expected to reduce the emissions from farming activities.  The two targets are plainly incompatible.”

As a whole, Ireland is supposed to reduce its emissions by 20% by the year 2020.  ICSA is firmly of the opinion that this is much too onerous due to the fact that agriculture as an industry is proportionately far more significant here than in other EU countries.  

Mr. Gilmartin said, “I am very much in agreement with the ESRI’s suggestion that a new mechanism for managing agricultural emissions in Ireland is needed.  A blunt focus on emissions reduction in Ireland could lead to more production being moved overseas, and Ireland will lose the potential to expand output and create jobs.  If this was to happen, the environmental benefits may be less than if production was kept within the EU, where cross-compliance and other measures ensure higher environmental standards.  New thinking is needed on the climate and emissions policies imposed on the sector.”