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One planet needs one carbon plan — national targets won’t work

Colm McCarthy


Embracing territorial goals merely sets the scene for squabbling between governments

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Farmers at Tullow mart, with IFA chief Tim Cullinan, voice their concerns about emission targets to Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue. Photo: Finbarr O'Rourke

Farmers at Tullow mart, with IFA chief Tim Cullinan, voice their concerns about emission targets to Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue. Photo: Finbarr O'Rourke

Farmers at Tullow mart, with IFA chief Tim Cullinan, voice their concerns about emission targets to Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue. Photo: Finbarr O'Rourke

Since most farm produce is exported, imposing output restrictions in Ireland by, say, culling dairy cows, will fail to reduce emissions. With global demand unaffected, the shortfall will be met from producers elsewhere, including some whose carbon footprint per unit is worse than the figures for Ireland. As the planet shares a common atmosphere, territorial targets for carbon emissions make no scientific sense.

Choosing to cut emissions arbitrarily, wherever politics makes it possible and regardless of cost, is economically wasteful, so territorial, country-by-country targets make no economic sense either.


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