IFA environment chairman, Thomas Cooney, has restated the IFA’s call on Government to introduce a robust climate activation programme to curb greenhouse gas emissions in Ireland, particularly the increases from the transport sector.
He was speaking following the release of new data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).Thomas Cooney said: “The EPA’s figures published today represent a real call to action. While emissions from agriculture are expected to increase by 3-4 per cent between now and 2020, transport will go up by 17-18 per cent. Action is now required, which parks the confrontation that often clouds the climate discussion." Mr Cooney called on Government to put forward with a climate activation programme focused on the following areas:
1. A biomass development programme would eliminate peat and coal burning.
2. The re-opening of the Green Low Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme.
3. A zero-carbon electricity tariff for community based renewable projects. "This would displace gas consumption, which accounts for 35 per cent of emissions from the electricity sector. This is part of IFA’s recent call for a €100m prosumer strategy, which ring-fences 20 per cent of the PSO [Public Service Obligation] levy paid by homeowners to encourage homeowners and farm families to replace their fossil fuels with renewables sources, such as roof-top solar and micro energy."
4. The scaling up of on-farm emission reduction programmes identified in the National Mitigation Plan, such as Smart Farming, Origin Green and the Carbon Navigator.
5. A full review by the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Services division of the new forestry programme and a commitment to remove barriers, which he said are contributing to a 14 per cent decline on planing year-on-year.
Concluding, Mr Cooney said, “Farmers have a proven track record of producing the most sustainable and emission-efficient food in Europe and will continue playing an important role in addressing the international climate challenge. With the support of the right Government policies, we can do more”.