'Farm sector can't deliver more than 8pc cut in CO2 emissions' - IFA
An 8pc reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture is the upper limit of what is possible from the sector, Joe Healy has insisted.
The IFA president said farming's greatest contribution to mitigating climate change would come in supporting the efforts of other sectors.
Last week the EU announced targets for emissions cuts of 30pc from agriculture, transport, waste management and the built environment. This is termed the non-emissions trading sector.
The reductions sought was slammed by the environmental lobby, with An Taisce condemning the Irish Government's prominent role in "critically undermining the EU's efforts to tackle climate change."
However, the IFA leader reiterated that reductions in greenhouse gas emissions could not be achieved at the cost of compromising food production.
"Whether some here like it or not the fact is that we cannot address the climate challenge in isolation. Wider policy objectives and societal and political implications must also be considered," Mr Healy told the McGill Summer School in Glenties, Co Donegal.
He said the "greatest and most cost effective opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions" were in the built environment, transport and energy sectors.
Mr Healy pointed out that Irish food production was among the most carbon efficient in the world.