John Downing: Farmers face climate change day of reckoning
Government is finally unveiling its plans to tackle emissions across all sectors, including agriculture
On of the less remarked upon damaging effects of Brexit is that other pressing issues can almost disappear from view.
The upcoming reckoning about climate change, and its inevitable knock-on effect on Irish farming, is a prime example.
Today, in a little-noticed move, a draft climate energy plan, or NECP, will go before Cabinet for approval. In essence it is a big-picture declaration of intent which must be lodged with the EU Commission before this year ends.
Its main focus will be on energy issues, and we can expect Bord na Móna's historic abandonment of peat harvesting to loom large. But this is just the first of many steps with which Climate Change Minister Richard Bruton has been charged.
Not even the Brexit din can downplay the reality that we are among the worst performers in the developed world on this issue.
And there is a dangerous day of reckoning, with hefty EU fines, hovering in the middle distance.
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe got a pasting for dodging the issue in his Budget 2019 plans outlined on October 9. The words of sincere commitment by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, on many international state occasions, were juxtaposed with this climate inaction.
At the Fine Gael árd fheis, the Taoiseach sent out Minister Bruton, newly switched into a government "gap of danger", which includes this issue and rural broadband.