Base CAP payments on achieving green targets rather than carbon tax - Ag Committee

Tractor drawing bales in the sunshine. Stock image.
Tractor drawing bales in the sunshine. Stock image.
Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

New measures should be introduced to incentivise the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the pursuit of more efficient processes on farms, according to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine

In a Report on Climate Change and Sustainability in the Agriculture and Food Sectors the Committee recommends the basing of CAP payments on achieving environmental / green targets may be a more optimal system than a carbon tax.

A tax on agriculture emissions was a key recommendation of the Citizens Assembly following its deliberations on Climate Change.

While the Committee welcomed the work of the Citizens Assembly and noted its recommendations it said that there are additional implications arising for the agri-food sector, in particular the Committee recommends that further emphasis is added to the absence of heavy industry in Ireland in the consideration of climate change targets.

It also recommends that an immediate impact assessment of the climate change and sustainability targets in Food Wise 2025 be undertaken.

Committee Chairperson, Pat Deering TD, said, “There is no arguing that climate change is a critical issue that needs to be addressed urgently. Farmers can play a vital role in tackling climate change but measures should be put in place to ensure that their livelihoods are not negatively impacted by evolving farming practices.

"The report we have published today makes 35 recommendations that identify potential policy solutions for these challenges, representing farming, sectoral, marine and environmental sectors.”

Deering said climate-related losses in crop and livestock productivity continues to impact negatively on farmers; with this in mind, we are recommending that measures be put in place to assist farmers and rural communities in responding to the impact of extreme weather events, such as shortages of fodder, winter storms and heatwaves.

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"Schemes and practices that are orientated towards the goal of carbon neutrality should be implemented and investment in biomass should also be encouraged.”

“We must agree on a way forward to tackle the challenges of climate change on agriculture," he said.

Some of the Report’s recommendations include:

• Readily available measures should be put in place to assist farmers and rural communities in responding to the impact of extreme weather events, such as shortages of fodder, winter storms and heatwaves;
• That the multi stakeholder Dairy Sustainability Ireland initiative is supported;
• That the Smart Farming programme be expanded;
• That resourcing be provided to examine the potential for seaweed additives and smart grass as a means of mitigating GHG emissions from livestock;
• The development of a Climate Activation Programme, to include measures such as an enhanced GLAS Scheme and energy tariffs which incentivise the use of renewable energy by farmers. The Committee also recommends the introduction of a premium tariff or subsidy that encourages the use of renewable energy;
• A scheme should be established to promote agroforestry among Irish farmers through the provision of adequate supports and incentives, including that consideration be given to making designated land available for planting;
• Measures should be taken to prepare for any adverse impact of Climate Change on stocks, such as cod and haddock in the fisheries sector and wild salmon in the angling sector.

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