The world's nations adopted a global agreement on climate change in Paris on Saturday. It set targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions that will have significant implications for Ireland and its agriculture. Here are some Irish reactions to the deal.
Environment Minister Alan Kelly
“This historic deal ensures a truly multilateral response to one of the largest challenges facing humanity.”
“This Paris Agreement puts in place the necessary framework for all countries to take ambitious action, as well as providing for a transparency system that ensures we can all have confidence in each other’s progress.”
IFA environment chair Harold Kingston
“The reality that is accepted in the Paris agreement is that emission efficient regions such as Ireland must be supported to develop its food production.”
“However, farmers want to build on our strong environmental credentials. Ireland is the only country in the world that monitors, measures and manages carbon from farm to fork, through initiatives such as the IFA-led Smart Farming initiative and the Bord Bia beef and dairy carbon auditing schemes. These programmes are showing results. Emissions from the sector have fallen by 9% since 1990, while other sectors such as transport continue to spiral out of control.”
“The agri-food sector is Ireland’s largest indigenous sector, with over 300,000 people employed directly or indirectly in the agri-food industry. Exports from the sector reached a record high of nearly €10.5b in 2014. This high-quality food is produced to the highest environmental standards and farmers in Ireland intend to build on our position as global leaders of sustainably-produced food.”
Environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth Ireland
“The Paris Agreement is too weak to deliver climate justice and safety on its own. The gap between ambition and action in the deal is too big,” said chair Cara Augustenborg.
“The latest figures from the EPA indicate that Irish emissions in 2014 were still marginally above what they were in 1990,” added director Oisín Coghlan. “With the Government so far exempting agriculture for making any pollution cuts that puts huge pressure on home-owners, businesses, transport and power generation to reduce their emissions. Otherwise the taxpayer faces fines running into billions of euro from 2020.”
“In the New Year the focus shifts to the negotiations in Brussels between EU member states on national targets for 2030. While Ireland continues to plead for special treatment for Irish agri-business, I see no reason to believe that either the Commission or other member states will be any mood to reward Irish inaction, especially now that we are the fastest growing economy in Europe.”
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