Hogan reveals Climate Change bill
Environment Minister Phil Hogan has outlined the steps towards the Government's climate change legislation.
It will see a public consultation process beginning next month, with the Bill itself slated for publication in the first half of 2013. The Climate Change bill prepared by Hogan's predecessor John Gormley was opposed by farm organisations, and eventually proved the final nail in the Fianna Fail/Green Party coalition.
Minster Hogan went on record last year on his belief that food security is as important an issue as climate change for Ireland, and that it is likely to inform the shape of the eventual legislative proposals.
Hogan spoke of ''the critical issue of coming to a clear national understanding of how we will meet our binding EU and wider-international mitigation commitments, as well as pursuing our national objectives in a low-carbon global economy''.
IFA President John Bryan has welcomed the announcement. ''The attempt by the previous Government to rush legislation through the Seanad and Dáil Eireann, even before the public consultation was completed showed a lack of willingness to address the significant concerns of stakeholders'' said Bryan.
''This must not be repeated and the IFA will participate fully in the forthcoming consultation on national policy''.
Bryan stated that future proposals must recognise Irish farmers' unique ability to produce sustainable food with a low-carbon footprint.
''It must also recognise that agriculture is the sector that has done most to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in recent years in Ireland'' he continued.
''Ireland has the largest permanent pastures in Europe and the greatest potential to expand our forestry cover. Both permanent pastures and forestry store carbon and this must be recognised in future emission accounting methodology''.