Deal remains elusive on agriculture emissions targets


The impasse over the level of carbon emissions in the agriculture sector has continued today with the Green Party and their government partners unable to agree a level.

The government previously outlined that the emission reduction target for the agriculture sector would be set within the range of 22-30%.

Negotiations have seen the Green Party reportedly seek to have the ceiling set at the higher end of the range, while Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have argued for it to be at the lower end. The figure was supposed to be settled at a cabinet meeting a fortnight ago, but has rumbled on to the last meeting before summer recess without being resolved.

Greens' chairperson Pauline O'Reilly today rejected the option of deferring the matter to September telling RTÉ Radio 1 that if the figure was settled at 22 or 23%, it would be unacceptable.

Fianna Fáil TD Brendan Smith meanwhile called for the government to ensure that farming and the agri-food sector are not adversely impacted by sectoral emissions targets.

“It is essential that the importance of this sector in its very sizeable contribution to the national economy and also its role in food security are taken fully into account in all assessments in relation to emissions reductions,” said Deputy Smith.

“Over many years a very modern and progressive farming and agri-food sector has been developed with very significant investment by the State, the European Union and by the farming community.

“Our farming systems and food production are environmentally friendly and sustainable and their role in food production and food security should not in any way be underestimated,” concluded Deputy Smith.

Meanwhile, the EPA reported last week that agriculture emissions increased by 3% in 2021, driven by increased fertiliser use (up 5.2%) and a 2.8% increase in the number of dairy cows.