The carbon budgets proposed for Ireland by Government were voted on and approved in the Dáil on Wednesday night.

Only eight predominantly rural and independent TDs opposed the motion to approve the budgets and, therefore, it did not go to a full vote.

These TDs included Michael Collins, Michael Fitzmaurice, Danny Healy-Rae, Michael Healy-Rae, Mattie McGrath, Verona Murphy, Carol Nolan and Richard O'Donoghue.

The carbon budgets, including that set for agriculture to reduce emissions by a range of 22% to 30% by 2030, are part of the Climate Action Plan launched by Government last year.

Overall, the budgets set are aimed at reducing carbon emissions from the country by some 50% by the end of this decade.

Implementation begins

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications (DECC) Ossian Smyth, who proposed the motion to approve the carbon budgets on Wednesday night, said: “The motion being considered today on the Government's proposed carbon budgets taking effect is the final step in the adoption of the carbon budgets, but it is only the beginning of the implementation process.

“Once these overall, economy-wide carbon budgets are adopted and have come into effect, the Minister and his Department will begin the process of preparing the sectoral emissions ceilings.

"These ceilings will determine how each sector of the economy will contribute to the achievement of the carbon budgets.”

Minister Smyth told the Dáil that reducing emissions associated with agriculture will be central to achieving Ireland’s “climate ambition” and that specific sectoral emissions ceilings will be presented to Government for approval by the end of June.

Farming targets

Highlighting his concerns that emissions targets will have on Irish farming, Michael Maurice TD said: “If I go on a journey from my place to Dublin and check it on Google, it tells me where I will start and finish. We have not done the measurements in the line of anything in agriculture.

“We are at a default position. I met members of Teagasc and we looked at different figures.

"We do not know where we are going. We do not know what [emissions] we are putting up at present so how do we know what [emissions] we have to get to?”

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