Independent TD Denis Naughten has expressed disappointment that Environment Minister Eamon Ryan has rejected an amendment based on the Climate Change Advisory Council recommendation for a separate climate target for farm generated (biogenic) methane.
This, he claims, would ensure that the agricultural sector does not face a disproportionate share of the climate reduction targets over the coming years.
Similar approaches have been taken by the EU, the UK and New Zealand, a country with a similar climate challenges to that faced by Ireland.
“While Minister Ryan and his predecessor Richard Bruton both acknowledged there is a need to take a different approach to methane coming from agriculture and that coming from fossil fuels, the Climate Bill will not reflect this in law as a result of today’s debate, which I believe will place an unacceptable burden on family farms and on those managing marginal farmland,” said Denis Naughten.
“I expressed a real concern that, as currently drafted, the Climate Bill incentivises other Government Departments to use agriculture as a scapegoat for the failure to meet their individual climate targets.
“Real climate action must be about encouraging people along the climate journey in a constructive and positive way with the aim of achieving the goal we all want: a long-term sustainable planet for our children and their children.
“I believe the failure to clearly reflect this recommendation of the Climate Change Advisory Council recommendation in the legislation will undermine the overall objective behind the Climate Bill, and lead to an unnecessary backlash from the farming community.
“Despite scaremongering by some so-called environmentalists this amendment does not mean that agriculture and farming should have a free pass. As I outlined at the committee, managing our land use better can take even more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, reducing its harmful effects on the climate and the oceans far quicker than shutting down farming,” Deputy Naughten concluded.