Ireland must cut greenhouse gas emissions by a third by 2030 - EU
Published 20/07/2016 | 15:50
Ireland will have to cut its emissions by a third by 2030, according to new targets to curb greenhouse gases.
There are 11 other member states throughout the EU that have higher targets for agriculture, transport and housing than Ireland – including France, Netherlands and Belgium. The cuts are based on each country’s emissions level in 2005.
Officials here have pressed the case for forestry to be allowed contribute as a carbon sink, with the commission granting Ireland 5.6pc flexibility from land use.
The country has also been granted a 4pc one-off flexibility from emissions trading, which comes in at the highest end of the ranking.
The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) president Joe Healy described the 30pc greenhouse gas emission reduction target as challenging but more balanced than previous targets set by the commission.
“The reduction obligation announced for Ireland’s non-emissions trading sector, which includes agriculture, transport and housing, will be extremely challenging, given the low mitigation potential of sectors such as agriculture,” he said, with the agri-food sector accounting for 220,000 jobs and €10.8bn in food and drink exports last year.
“However, farmers’ focus will remain on the sustainable intensification of food production in Ireland, which has the lowest carbon footprint in milk production and the fifth lowest in beef production in Europe.”
He said agriculture could also support other sectors through the greater use of indigenous bio-energy fuels and renewable fuels such as miscanthus for heating family homes.