Farming will not be held back by green targets says Coveney
The Irish dairy sector's expansion plans should not be constrained by greenhouse gas emission targets, the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney said yesterday.
The environmental lobby group, An Taisce, has slammed a Department of Agriculture study that claimed that farming would be able to mitigate emissions through 'climate smart' initiatives.
"Our national emissions are unacceptably high, especially in agriculture and transport," said An Taisce's John Gibbons.
"Ireland is falling woefully short of our 2020 emissions target due to a continual lack of political will to set a new course."
However, Minister Coveney, rejected the environmentalists' claims that emissions from agriculture were increasing and that the sector needed to face up to the harsh reality of reducing livestock numbers.
"Emissions from agriculture are actually down over the last five years. Yes, we are going to have to carefully manage the environmental challenges of expanded output over the coming years," he told the Farming Independent.
"But nobody in the Irish administration ever suggested that agriculture was going to reduce emissions long term," he said.
Ireland faces huge fines if it fails to meet EU targets to reduce emissions by 20pc by 2020, compared to levels in 2005.