Farming

| 14.5°C Dublin

Frank Coughlan: Climate-shaming of farmers by townies rings hollow

Close

Demand to cut our herds isn't going to be easy for farmers. Stock image

Demand to cut our herds isn't going to be easy for farmers. Stock image

Demand to cut our herds isn't going to be easy for farmers. Stock image

My knowledge of farming is limited to what I learned about free-range eggs when watching Glenroe back in the day, or occasional and accidental exposure to Ear to the Ground.

But a little learning is a dangerous thing and I would proffer opinions on agriculture with the same sort of confidence that I could pontificate on epidemiology and, more pertinently perhaps, climatology.

Which is with no certainty at all.

But it won’t discourage many others, largely townies, from compulsive hand-wringing and tut-tutting about the farming emissions deal agreed between the Government parties last week.

A 25pc cut by 2030 is not nearly enough, according to academics and environmentalists.

They argue that if Ireland gets to where it needs to be in eight short years, other sectors will now have to take up the slack.

I have no reason to believe they are wrong and any more than I would question the farm lobby’s insistence that a projected 30pc cut, in such a short time, would be calamitous for businesses, families and communities.

A quarter of anything seems a lot from where I am sitting, but in that vast echo chamber of public opinion it seems not nearly enough.

But those sitting in judgment, contemplating with indignation the intransigence of farmers from their suburban kitchens, won’t be cutting their personal emissions by 25pc, or anything near, anytime soon.

Everyone wants sustainable living, but who can pass up a bargain?

Is there any realistic expectation that people are going to fly a quarter less in the rest of the decade?

Judging from the chaos and queues at Dublin Airport this summer, there’s not an ice cube’s chance in hell. People who want to save the planet want a tan much more.

Any realistic signs that fast fashion – cheap, disposable clothes delivered from the far corners – is going to cut its cloth by 25pc between now and 2030? Everyone wants sustainable living, but who can pass up a bargain?

Does anybody seriously think there will be quantifiably fewer cars on our roads in eight years?

Or imagine that yummy-mummies won’t be dumping their SUVs on footpaths while delivering clever Fiachra to a school a few hundred metres from home?

Anyone truthfully think internet shopping is going to shrink by 25pc in the next number of years?

The opposite is more likely.

Seemingly all that cardboard, plastic, bubble wrap, air and sea miles are worth it for something you don’t need and are very likely to return.

I won’t suggest trying a local shop instead. That would be very 20th century of me.

Much of this chatter about agriculture, farting cattle and the end being nigh is done over lattes and flat whites – all of which creates a Himalayan pile of disposable cups weekly.

Farming Newsletter

Get the latest farming news and advice every Tuesday and Thursday.

This field is required

Recyclable, of course, but there’s a crippling energy cost to that too.

We all want to save the planet, it seems. But at least 25pc of that seems to be hot air.


Most Watched





Privacy