Department figures on dairy emissions 'misleading'
The Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed and department officials have "systematically" under-estimated the rise in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from the dairy sector, An Taisce has claimed.
The environmental and conservation organisation has called on Minister Creed to amend the Dáil record in relation to a series of statements on the decoupling of increased dairy production from rising GHG emissions.
"The Dáil record needs to be corrected by Minister Creed as a matter of urgency, and repeated inaccurate claims by ministers and officials that dairy emissions have been decoupled from milk production need to be publicly retracted," An Taisce spokesperson John Gibbons told the Farming Independent.
Last November, Minister Creed told the Dáil that "the post-dairy quota era has proven we have broken the link between increased output and increasing greenhouse gas production.
"Since 2015 we have increased our dairy production by 13.2pc but our greenhouse gas emissions have only gone up by 1.6pc.
"This is significant in that we are breaking the link between increased production and increased greenhouse gas emissions."
These figures were repeated by Bill Callanan, assistant secretary general at the Department of Agriculture, a week later when he addressed the Joint Committee on Agriculture.
And, replying to a Dáil question last April, Minister Creed stated: "In the five year period 2012-16, dairy cow numbers have increased by 22pc and corresponding milk production by 27pc while emissions increased just 8pc, demonstrating a level of decoupling is happening."