Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed and his colleague for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton are joining other representatives from around the world from this Wednesday in Katowice, Poland, for the political phase of the annual conference of parties to the UN convention on climate change (COP24).

The 24th such conference closing this Friday marks the deadline set by the nations of the world to agree on the methods they will use to implement the 2015 Paris agreement. Slow progress has been reported among negotiators since the conference opened last week and it will be up to politicians to make tough decisions.

The agreement set a common goal of keeping global warming "well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels (...) in a manner that does not threaten food production".

This conference is about making those commitments stick by agreeing a rule book among all countries

“Ireland is fully committed to the implementation of the Paris agreement," said Minister Bruton.

"This conference is about making those commitments stick by agreeing a rule book among all countries, so that we are all making progress in a consistent, transparent manner."

It was agreed in Paris that all countries would contribute their national commitments to the global effort.

In Europe, this is co-ordinated by EU legislation setting national targets for greenhouse gas emissions and renewable energy use.

Common rules

The conference aims at setting common rules for this to be done in an equitable way around the world and extend it beyond the 2030 horizon currently used by most countries.

With agriculture accounting for one third of Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions under current reporting rules, any decisions made in Katowice this week will have an impact on the future of Irish farming for the coming decades.

Minister Creed will participate in several meetings at EU and global level and said Ireland was well placed to take part in the debate on how to "balance agriculture’s food and environmental credentials".

“A significant decision on agriculture was reached at COP 23 recognising the role of agriculture in tackling climate change and achieving the Paris Climate Agreement, including improved soil carbon, soil health, soil fertility and improves livestock systems,” he added.

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