Farm Ireland

Friday 15 December 2017

Livestock escapes new EU limits

Livestock emissions, such as methane, are exempt.
Livestock emissions, such as methane, are exempt.

Reductions in agricultural methane emissions will not be mandatory following an EU agreement on air pollution targets for 2030. However, Irish MEP Mairead McGuinness warned that the EU Commission could trigger a review of methane emissions in the future.

"Negotiators reached agreement to curb pollutants including ammonia from manure and fertiliser and machinery emissions, setting binding national targets for 2030," she said. However, livestock emissions such as methane are exempt from the mandatory requirements.

The EU is pushing ahead with tighter air controls to reduce the 400,000 premature deaths in the EU that are linked to poor air quality. It is hoped that the new measures will halve the number of deaths. Total annual costs linked to emissions are estimated at €330-940bn per year, including €15bn from lost work days and €4bn healthcare costs.

"While methane emission reduction have been excluded from the agreement, this may come back in future discussions", added Ms McGuinness.

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