Coalition talks resume on agricultural carbon emissions target

Talks between the three coalition leaders on emissions reduction targets for the agriculture sector are expected to resume on Thursday.

It is understood that an agreement may be reached in the coming days.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin, Tanaiste Leo Varadkar and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan held long discussions late Wednesday on how to set emissions reduction targets for key sectors of the economy, particularly the agriculture sector.

The government failed to reach a consensus on the matter on Wednesday during the last cabinet meeting before the summer break.

The government’s Climate Action Plan 2021 set a 22-30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions targets for the agriculture sector, as part of Ireland’s aim to reduce its total emissions by 51% by 2030.

Some backbench TDs have said that emissions limits should be set at the lower end of the range, with climate scientists and some opposition parties calling for reductions at the higher end.

Speaking after the cabinet meeting, Mr Ryan said he was “still hopeful” that an agreement could be reached.


Environment Minister Eamon Ryan said he hoped a settlement could be reached on Wednesday (Brian Lawless/PA)

The environment minister told RTE News, “We need momentum. We need to create opportunities for Irish farmers and ensure that the changes we make bring them a decent income.

“I’m still hopeful and we’re working hard to get there.”

Speaking to reporters after leaving the meeting, she would not comment on Green Senator Pauline O’Reilly’s claim on RT radio that the Green Party could walk out of government if a 22% or 23% reduction in emissions is set for the agriculture sector. She goes.

“I don’t think the Green Party can tolerate that kind of low figure,” she said.

Agriculture Minister Charlie McConaughey was seen giving thumbs up and smiling to the media as he left Dublin Castle.

After cabinet, Justice Minister Helen McEntee told RT radio that “it is not a straightforward process”.

“Negotiations are ongoing and no, we haven’t reached an agreement yet. Whether we’ll reach it today or this week, I don’t know.”

She said the delay was due to the government trying to “make the right compromise here” and it was not just about agriculture.

,[It’s] That we understand what we agree with, that what we agree with is realistic, that it is ambitious, because everyone here needs to be ambitious.”

“But that there is not only complete agreement on all parts of the three government parties, but that we have the support and purchase of all who are involved in reaching the overall goals,” said Ms McEnty.

Speaking ahead of the cabinet meeting, the Taoiseach said reaching an agreement was not easy, but that the government was “determined to resolve it”.


Taoiseach Michael Martin said the government is ‘determined’ to reach agreement on emissions reductions (PA)

He said: “The difficulties we see in reaching an agreement show the importance of the challenges. I think it’s important that we find a resolution, but we do it in a way that facilitates delivery on the road.” Be and have real momentum with respect to climate change.”

Mr Martin said part of the challenge with agriculture lies in recognizing the importance of food production and the energy sector playing a greater role in the future.

Ireland is legally committed to halving its carbon emissions by 2030 and achieving net-zero by 2050.