Farmers won’t bear cost of missed greenhouse gas targets
AGRICULTURE will escape specific environmental fines despite being identified as a major contributor to Ireland’s increased greenhouse gas emissions.
It has been confirmed that penalties of between €150m and €450m which are expected to be imposed on Ireland because of missed EU greenhouse gas reduction targets will be carried by the taxpayer.
The Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment confirmed to the Farming Independent that the immediate cost of missing the EU targets in 2020 will not be levied on a sectoral basis.
Recent Environmental Protection Agency figures show that agriculture, transport and energy were the primary drivers of a 3.5pc increase in Ireland’s overall greenhouse gas emissions last year compared to 2015.
Emissions rose by 2.7pc in agriculture, driven primarily by higher numbers of dairy cows.
Oisin Coghlan of Friends Of The Earth said €400m raised by existing carbon taxes on fossil fuels will pay the EU fines.
However, he contended that the Government needed to spend more money fighting climate change rather than devising taxes to pay fines.
“Beyond 2020, this Government has set its own goal for 2050 of reducing CO2 emissions by 80pc, but they simply aren’t backing that up with action,” Mr Coghlan said.
“We need to retrofit one million homes by 2030, making them warmer and healthier and reducing fuel bills and pollution. Many households need practical and financial support to do that.
“And we need to accelerate the move from fossil fuels to renewables. The worldwide solar revolution offers the chance for local householders, communities and farmers to be at the heart of that.
“But Ireland is being left behind because you can’t sell your solar electricity to the grid here.”