Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) Environment chairman, Thomas Cooney, will meet with senior officials from the European Commission in Brussels where he will present the IFA’s viewpoint on proposed changes to the climate and energy rules.
Mr Cooney said: “Current proposals by Members of the European Parliament (MEPS) who sit on the Commission’s Environment Committee are short-changing farmers in Ireland and may result in over nine million tonnes of carbon savings from forestry generated by farmers being disregarded.
“Ireland faces significant challenges over the next decade to deliver on EU climate obligations. While emissions from farming have fallen by 6 per cent, emissions from transport have increased by 130 per cent since 1990 and overall national emissions increasing by 7 per cent over the same period.”
Mr Cooney said MEPS should not be unravelling existing agreements. “They should be doing everything in their power to maximise the carbon saving potential of agriculture, whether that is from renewable energy production, forestry, permanent pastures or bio-energy.”
Mr Cooney encouraged Ireland’s MEPs to ensure that climate policy is implemented in compliance with the international Paris agreement in a manner that does not threaten food production and food security.
He also welcomed Minister Leo Varadkar’s focus on the energy and transport sectors for future emission reduction cuts. He said he looks forward to working to deliver in these areas, and called for the long awaited renewable heat incentive scheme and bio-energy programme to be announced.