Farm­ers won’t bear cost of missed green­house gas tar­gets

Irish Independent - Farming - - NEWS - CLAIRE FOX

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.”

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