EU emission targets slammed
European Commission proposals that the EU should set itself a target of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40pc by 2030 has provoked a furious reaction from the Irish farm sector.
Climate Action Commissioner, Connie Hedegaard, launched the plans last week, claiming that the 40pc GHG reduction, relative to 1990 emission levels, would ensure Europe had a low-carbon economy while still being competitive.
To achieve the proposed targets, the energy and industrial sectors would have to reduce emissions by 43pc below 2005 levels, while agriculture would have to deliver a 30pc cut.
But the proposed changes have sparked an angry response from farm organisations. The ICMSA, IFA and ICOS have all warned that the Commission's plans posed a serious threat to Ireland's dairy expansion hopes.
"An across-the-board broadly similar reduction in all the member states is most certainly not an equitable proposal because our food production is proportionately less environmentally damaging than most other member states," said ICMSA president John Comer.
"Similarly, our food sector is proportionately much more important than in every other member state," Mr Comer added.
Noting that a summit on the Commission's 2030 targets is set for March 21, the ICMSA president said Ireland must not be "bounced" into any agreement.
TJ Flanagan of ICOS pointed out that the proposals from Commissioner Hedegaard went much further than the EU was required to do under international agreements. He said Ireland was within its Kyoto limits and already had a binding EU commitment to reduce GHG emissions by 20pc by 2020.