Introducing a second carbon tax on farming cannot be seriously considered. This proposal would be costly, impractical and unlikely to make any real environmental difference.

This is demonstrated by the fact that since the current carbon tax was introduced, overall national greenhouse gas emissions have actually increased by 4%.

This is because emissions from the transport sector are out of control, growing by 130% since 1990.

Farmers can and will do more

The proposal ignores the economic and social implications of imposing a further cost on farmers and the agri-food sector, a sector that has reduced emissions by 6% since 1990. It also ignores the sustainability credentials of Ireland’s agriculture sector.

We are the most carbon-efficient milk producers in the world and the fifth most efficient beef producers in Europe.

If a carbon tax were to be introduced in Ireland, where our grass-based production methods allow us to produce carbon efficiently, and where our policy focus on reducing emissions is having a real impact, it would actually lead to increased international greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

At a time of increasing demand for dairy and beef, carbon-efficient food produced in Ireland would be displaced by less environmentally sustainable food produced in other regions.

Future approaches to addressing climate change in the agriculture sector must involve a stimulus package. IFA is seeking:

  • 1 The announcement of an indigenous biomass development programme, which would displace electricity generated from peat and coal. This would eliminate 64% of greenhouse gasses created when generating electricity.
  • 2 The re-opening of the Green Low-carbon Agri-environment Scheme (GLAS).
  • 3 The announcement of a zero-carbon electricity tariff for community-based and roof-top renewable projects.
  • 4 The scaling up of on-farm emission reduction programmes identified in the National Mitigation Plan, such as Smart Farming, Origin Green and the Carbon Navigator.
  • 5 A full review by the Department of Agriculture’s Forest Services division of the new forestry programme.
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    Desire to change

    Farmers can and will do more.

    However, this will not be at the expense of our national herd or the competitiveness of the agri-food sector. It is much better to work with farmers to continue on our path of sustainability through programmes such as Smart Farming, BETTER farm and Origin Green.

    Read more

    Should farmers fear the citizens assembly?

    Why a carbon tax would not be effective

    Making farming part of climate change solution