Friday 18 October 2019

'Time for action is now' - Green Party leader calls for national emergency to be declared on climate change

Eamon Ryan: The Green Party leader wants single-use plastics banned. Photo: Tom Burke
Eamon Ryan: The Green Party leader wants single-use plastics banned. Photo: Tom Burke

Gabija Gataveckaite

The leader of the Green Party has called for a national emergency to be declared concerning climate change.

Eamon Ryan added that Fine Gael has to come to an agreement following the Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action report and to be cautious of waste and biodiversity reduction and climate change.

Mr Ryan was speaking after a United Nations report on climate change attributed a breakdown in biodiversity to overfishing and ‘turning forests, grasslands and other areas into farms and cities’.

He stated that the findings of the report are “absolutely true”.

“We’ve lost half of our wildlife over the last 50 years.

“We’re at a crisis point, the time for action is now,” he added.

He added that overfishing and over-farming are big concerns for small agricultural businesses.

“Small farmers can’t make a living,” he said. “Supporting factory trawlers would mean that fish would come to Irish waters if we supported an industrial fishing model.”

The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) stated that it is ‘unfair and illogical’ to focus Irish food production being ‘culpable’ for environmental issues.

“The solutions must be advanced on a global basis with specific commodities produced in those countries that are specifically best suited and in Ireland’s case that means, milk and beef,” commented President of ICMSA, Pat McCormack.

“Adjusted for inflation, farmers’ milk price is the same now as it was 25 years ago, but our inputs have soared in the interim,” he said.

“There’s one other point that policymakers must grasp: because farmers’ margins are so low, they have to make up on volume what they lose on margin.

“We will not allow the farmers – the element of the supply-chain who work longest, hardest and have the lowest margin and highest risk – to have all the costs associated with environmental awareness and mitigation passed back to them,” Mr McCormack added.

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