Opposition politicians have labeled the 25% emissions reduction for Ireland’s agriculture sector “a failure” on climate action, while a farmers’ lobbying group said it was a “potentially devastating blow to Irish farming”.
On Thursday, the government agreed a compromise target of 25% emissions reduction for agriculture after it failed to agree on targets in the last cabinet meeting before the summer break.
It set a 50% reduction for the transport and 75% reduction for the power sector.
Labor leader Ivana Basic said it was “unfortunate” to see targets at the mid-range rather than the high end of the 22-30% range outlined in the government’s climate action plan.
Agriculture accounts for 37% of Ireland’s emissions – a reduction of 25% by 2030 is disappointingly inadequatePaul Murphy
“It is unfortunate that the government has only landed on a 25% emissions target for the agriculture sector when all the science is clear – the sector must be cut by around 30% to have some hope of staving off the effects of climate change.”
People Before Profit/Solidarity TD Paul Murphy said the 25% target set for agriculture was “yet another Green Party failure”.
“Agriculture accounts for 37% of Ireland’s emissions – a reduction of 25% by 2030 is hopelessly inadequate,” he said.
Solidarity TD for Cork North Central Mick Barry said that “anyone who takes the issue of climate change seriously cannot support this deal”.
Social Democrat TD Jennifer Whitmore said the 25% rate for agriculture “is a failure by the government to listen to science and shows a startling lack of leadership”.
“This deal clearly demonstrates that the government is not ready, or not able, to make the tough decisions needed to tackle climate change.
“Instead, they have chosen to ignore independent advice and the deal falls far short of the target we need to meet our climate goals.
“Unfortunately, it appears, government ministers and TDs were more interested in protecting their seats than in protecting the environment and future of our rural communities.
“The onus is now on the government to make it clear what areas need to be filled in for this shortcoming and their lack of ambition when it comes to agricultural reform and climate action.”
Farmers across the country will be worried about what this means for their futureIFA President Tim Cullinan
Irish Farmers Association (IFA) President Tim Cullinan said in a statement that the 25% reduction in emissions for the agriculture sector is “a potentially devastating blow” to Irish farming.
“This deal between Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Green Party is about the existence of government rather than the survival of rural Ireland.
“The government has agreed on a target to help farmers reduce emissions, with no avenues or no budget. They have no idea of the economic and social impact of today’s decision on the agricultural sector or rural Ireland.
“Farmers across the country will be worried about what this means for their future.
“The implementation plan will be crucial to achieve the target.
“I want to make it clear that any attempt to undermine the livelihood of farmers or the viability of the sector to achieve these goals will be strongly opposed by the IFA,” he said.
Speaking on RTE’s Drivetime, Fianna Fail TD Paul McAuliffe acknowledged that “Fianna Fail had many representatives who were arguing that farming had unique conditions, but that there would be challenges in every area.
“It’s a radical and significant change in behavior at the national and regional level and today is just the beginning, and at least now each region knows the challenge they face, and we need to move on.”