The IFA's environment chairman, Thomas Cooney, has restated the IFA’s call on the Government to introduce a robust climate activation programme to curb greenhouse gas emissions in Ireland, particularly the increases from the transport sector.
The EPA’s figures published last week represented a real call to action, he said.
The figures showed that while emissions from agriculture were expected to increase by 3-4 per cent between now and 2020, transport will go up by 17-18 per cent.
“Action is now required, which parks the confrontation that often clouds the climate discussion. Government must come forward with a climate activation programme,” he said.
Mr Cooney said the focus should be on a number of areas, including a biomass development programme which would eliminate peat and coal burning, which is responsible for 64 per cent of greenhouse gasses from the electricity sector.
He also said that there was a need to reopen the Green Low Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme, along with a zero-carbon electricity tariff for community based renewable projects. This would displace gas consumption which accounts for 35 per cent of emissions from the electricity sector.
This is part of IFA’s recent call for a €100m prosumer strategy, which ring-fences 20 per cent of the PSO levy paid by homeowners to encourage homeowners and farm families to replace their fossil fuels with renewables sources, such as roof-top solar and micro energy.
Mr Cooney said that there was a need for a scaling up of on-farm emission reduction programmes identified in the National Mitigation Plan, such as Smart Farming, Origin Green and the Carbon Navigator.
He also said there should be a focus on a full review by the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Services division of the new forestry programme and a commitment to remove barriers, as planting is down 14 per cent year on year.
“Farmers have a proven track record of producing the most sustainable and emission efficient food in Europe and will continue playing an important role to play in addressing the international climate challenge. With the support of the right Government policies, we can do more,” said Mr Cooney.