The Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS), the umbrella body for the co-operative movement in Ireland, attended the recent launch of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action Report – ‘Climate Change: A Cross Party Consensus for Action’.
ICOS President and Roscommon native Michael Spellman paid tribute to the Committee Chair, Hildegarde Naughton TD and the members of the committee for publishing a very comprehensive and balanced report on climate change, which he said is a critical issue for our generation and for generations to come.
He added: “The report by the Oireachtas is of immense importance to the future of our country, rural Ireland and the agri-food sector. ICOS reiterates our strong commitment to work in partnership with all stakeholders to ensure the implementation of the report’s recommendations, especially those related to the agri-food sector and co-operative development”.
Mr. Spellman welcomed the Report’s recommendation to develop a network of AD or biogas co-ops. He said: “Anaerobic digestion is a proven technology with significant potential to reduce emissions from stored slurry and manure…it will reduce nitrous oxide emissions and also offset fossil fuel as an energy source. However, there is a clear need for meaningful support from the Government to maximise the potential of AD biogas in Ireland, recognising the high investment costs involved”.
Mr. Spellman continued: “ICOS is willing to work with farmer and industry stakeholders to help develop the AD sector in Ireland on a co-operative basis by providing legal and governance advice and support to communities and groups of farmers willing to invest in the AD sector”.
In relation to renewable energy and energy efficiency, ICOS also welcomes the recent announcement by Minister Michael Creed to provide €10 million worth of grants under TAMS to support solar PV installation on farms and LED lighting.
Mr. Spellman stated in relation to the report’s recommendations on agriculture: “I am particularly pleased to see the Report’s strong emphasis on knowledge sharing and the roll-out of the 25 climate mitigation measures contained in the Teagasc Marginal Abatement Cost Curve. In 2018, ICOS published a report on climate change and our key recommendation focused on knowledge sharing. This is a recognition that there are no quick fixes when it comes to mitigation from agriculture as methane and nitrous oxide are biological emissions. The adoption of EBI, improved nitrogen use efficiency, uptake of protected urea, use of low emission spreading equipment, greater use of milk recording, extending the grazing season are all examples of practical measures that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.
“The critical message to farmers is that there is a strong correlation between the uptake of these carbon efficiency measures and farm level profitability”.