CAP di­rect farm pay­ments will be linked to EU cli­mate change tar­gets

Irish Independent - Farming - - FINANCE -

FARM­ERS will be asked to do more to re­duce meth­ane and ni­trous ox­ide emis­sions from live­stock and fer­tiliser use in the up­com­ing over­haul of the Com­mon Agri­cul­tural Pol­icy.

A set of nine ob­jec­tives un­der the new CAP, in­clud­ing cli­mate-re­lated tar­gets, will have to be met to re­ceive di­rect pay­ments un­der a Com­mis­sion pro­posal due around June 1.

Un­der the new CAP, the EU will mon­i­tor cli­mate com­pli­ance via manda­tory nu­tri­ent man­age­ment plans and will roll out com­pul­sory farm ad­vi­sory ser­vices to en­cour­age pre­ci­sion and dig­i­tal agri­cul­ture.

Ire­land has one of the high­est lev­els of agri­cul­tural emis­sions per hectare in the EU, at around twice the EU av­er­age.

And live­stock den­sity in Ire­land has in­creased by 4.5pc since 2010, largely as a re­sult of the grow­ing dairy herd, while it has fallen on av­er­age in the EU.

Agri­cul­ture, which makes up 33pc of Ir­ish emis­sions, is not the only cul­prit — a lack of in­vest­ment in cleaner en­ergy and trans­port has also put paid to Ire­land’s chances of meet­ing its 2020 cli­mate tar­gets.

Agri­cul­ture com­mis­sioner Phil Ho­gan warned the Seanad last month the coun­try is “run­ning into the trou­ble of per­haps in­fringe­ment pro­ceed­ings” af­ter 2020.

Ire­land is likely to miss two of its three main 2020 tar­gets, on emis­sion re­duc­tion and re­new­able en­ergy use, fac­ing fines of between €610 mil­lion and €5.3 bil­lion, de­pend­ing on how long the gov­ern­ment waits to take ac­tion, the In­sti­tute for Ir­ish and Euro­pean Af­fairs es­ti­mates.

Pres­sure

Adding to the pres­sure, the non-profit group Friends of the Ir­ish En­vi­ron­ment (FIE) has taken the gov­ern­ment to court over its 2015 na­tional mit­i­ga­tion plan, say­ing it will not be enough to meet the EU tar­gets or the UN’s Paris goals.

“The cli­mate act 2015 is go­ing com­pletely in the wrong di­rec­tion,” FIE’s Tony Lowes told Farm­ing In­de­pen­dent. “No-one is tak­ing this is­sue se­ri­ously at the po­lit­i­cal level.”

He added: “This ac­tion is not in­tended to hob­ble the state and cost it money. We’re ac­tu­ally go­ing to be sav­ing peo­ple money if we suc­ceed.”

FIE trav­elled to the UN cli­mate talks in Bonn last week to present its case. Hear­ings in the trial are ex­pected to start later this year.

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