Greens dig heels in on emissions targets
Party not for turning, but farm groups fear for future of industry
The Green Party is digging in on its radical new climate change laws, despite looking increasingly isolated on the issue after backbench Fianna Fail TDs joined the chorus of opposition against the proposed bill.
This follows the IFA's statement that the Green's proposals would place totally unrealistic restrictions on farmers and destroy the potential of the agri-food sector.
The bill, which is up for discussion in the Seanad this week, seeks a 30pc reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.
This is 50pc higher than the level Ireland has already committed to under the EU's emission reduction plan.
From 2020 to 2050, the Green Party proposals envisage a further 50pc reduction, resulting in an astonishing 80pc reduction in Ireland's total emissions. However, a spokesman from the Department of the Environment said that the increased targets would be offset by the 70pc increase in carbon sinks predicted by the Environmental Protection Agency.
"The bill takes these changes into account, which will mean that, in effect, Ireland will not be required to lower its emissions any more than the 20pc reduction we are already committed to," the spokesman said.
He added that the cost of meeting any of the targets in the bill would be the same if nothing was done.
"If we don't reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, with the way oil prices are going, we're going to see an increase in costs anyway," he said.