Farm Ireland

Monday 21 January 2019

Farms west of the Shannon could be key to meeting climate targets

It may see farmers’ sons and daughters who are working in nearby towns, rather than on the farm, able to build in the locality.
It may see farmers’ sons and daughters who are working in nearby towns, rather than on the farm, able to build in the locality.
Claire Fox

Claire Fox

Focus must be placed on extensive farms west of the Shannon within CAP if we want to achieve climate change targets, the Oireachtais committee on agriculture has heard.

Speaking at the Agriculture Committee’s climate change meeting, Michael Ewing of Environmental Pillar said that extensive farms west of the Shannon need to be supported to reduce our impact on the environment and that funding for the environment needs to be included within CAP 2020.

“Farms west of the Shannon are generally extensive and they’re getting the least from the CAP but these are the people we should be protecting.

We need to look at CAP, the average income from farms west of the Shannon is €15,000, in Germany it’s €30,000. Why is that? It’s because there’s a focus on factory farming in Ireland,” he said.

Ian Lumley of An Taisce added that conflicts are arising worldwide due to trade agreements undermining climate targets and referred to the possible Mercosur deal between EU and South American countries leading to increased carbon taxes in the EU.

“Ongoing trade agreements, such as possible Mercosur agreements result in higher carbon from beef coming in from south America, that will have to be integrated with targets that meet the Paris Agreement,” he said.

There’s conflict between meeting climate targets and countries through trade agreements that undermine those targets and they will have to be a reconciled with carbon tax. We have to incentivise decarbonisation.”

A move toward plant based food and afforestation was also advocated at the meeting by the climate and environmental groups. However, Fianna Fail TD Jackie Cahill said this contradicted the ask for a reduced carbon footprint.

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“Looking at the thing globally and apparently veganism is going to solve the whole problem. If I had dinner with someone and I had steak and they had an avocado,  if you look at the avocado it has a far bigger carbon footprint than the steak,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein’s Martin Kenny advocated a move toward further promotion of Irish tillage in order to reduce our carbon footprint and reliance on cheap grain imports.

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