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Sunday 22 October 2017

New threat to Irish farming from revised climate change proposals, says MEP

Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

A new threat to Irish agriculture has emerged in the from of a report to the European Parliament which proposes tougher measures to curb climate change, according to Ireland South M.E.P. Sean Kelly.

Kelly says the report by the designated rapporteur, Benedek Javor, a Green M.E.P. from Hungary goes much farther than the original COP21 Climate Change Agreement and subsequent Commission proposals.

Kelly warns that the new elements introduced in this latest draft would spell ‘disaster for Irish agriculture’.

Kelly says this is because forestry would no longer be counted as a mitigating measure (or carbon sink) for increased greenhouse gas emissions from livestock production.

“This would destroy a crucial part of our strategy in achieving the necessary reductions under the Climate Change Agreement.

“It would also remove forestry as a desirable and practical use of marginal land,” he said.

Former GAA President Sean Kelly, MEP, speaking during the GAA Annual Congress 2015. Slieve Russell Hotel, Cavan. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
Former GAA President Sean Kelly, MEP, speaking during the GAA Annual Congress 2015. Slieve Russell Hotel, Cavan. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

By 2030, the EU aims to achieve a 40% reduction in Greenhouse Gas emissions compared to 1990 levels

To bring this about, two key instruments are used: Emissions Trading System (EU-ETS) and the Effort Sharing Regulation (non-ETS sectors), along with sub targets on renewables, energy efficiency, transport, buildings, etc.

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According to Kelly, the approach Mr. Jávor has now taken is to make the Commission proposals far more ambitious.

He says Jávor recommends “an earlier starting point of the linear trajectory which would arrive at the same end point, but make the challenge each year more difficult.

“Cutting the LULUCF credits by half (280 million tonnes to 190 million tonnes) and take out afforestation as a mitigation strategy. Also cut the amount of proposed credits that a MS can use cumulatively.

“Cutting the flexibility with ETS credits by half (100 down to 50),” He said

 “Changing the compliance check to yearly (every year rather than in 2027 & 2032 as proposed to allow for LULUCF)

 “Removing the treatment of bioenergy as zero carbon unless waste or residues (removes the incentive to grow woody biomass for energy)

The proposal will eventually be voted on by the full European Parliament later this year but Kelly warns that these new and more radical measures need to be opposed in the strongest possible manner because he is already detecting strong support from many M.E.Ps to the rapporteur's revised approach.

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