ICOS expresses concern at 25% target

ICOS President James O'Donnell has expressed his extreme concern at the 25 per cent emission reduction target set for agriculture by the Government.

He said that ICOS, as the representative body for the co-operative movement and representative body for the dairy co-operative and mart sectors, recognises the responsibility to reduce emissions to prevent global climate change. “That said, the goal of reducing emissions must be balanced against the need to protect food security and the viability of our rural businesses and communities,” said Mr. O’Donnell. 

“The target set is legally binding and must be met by the sector. This will result in significant change at farm and co-op level as a result. We need to be honest about the implications. Unfortunately, again we see a target established without a concrete plan as to how the target will be achieved. 

“The reality is that there isn’t a clear pathway to a 25 per cent reduction in emissions from agriculture without new technologies and innovation. Co-ops are responsible businesses and we have an important role in supporting and helping our shareholders with our sustainability goals, which we are currently doing and this will intensify over the coming period. There are measures that we need to progress urgently such as the widespread use of protected urea in the short to medium term for example.  

“However, be in no doubt. The odds are stacked against agriculture in its efforts to reduce emissions as the current accounting framework for emissions is not fit for purpose. Farmers and the sector will not get credit for adopting renewable energy nor will they get credit for sequestration from grassland and hedgerows. This remains an unacceptable element of the Government’s approach to climate change.”

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