‘Financial stability essential for agricultural climate action’

Farming – in Ireland or other EU countries – should not be framed in a negative light in relation to climate change.

This was the message that Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) general secretary Eddie Punch gave to the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Denis Naughten, upon his arrival at the 23rd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP 23) in Bonn, Germany, yesterday.

“The ICSA strongly believes that food production should be promoted in areas where it is done efficiently,” the general secretary said.

Equally, farming must be financially sustainable. Farmers can contribute positively to climate change mitigation through sequestration and through renewable energy.

“Therefore, we must have policies at EU and national level that deliver greater use of renewable energy produced by European farmers in a sustainable way.

“We need to stand over sustainable beef and dairy production in Ireland and reject the absurd notion that reducing livestock on Irish farms does anything to help the climate when all we are doing is relocating production to other parts of the globe.”

Continuing, Punch added: “If we want farmers to contribute to more sustainable food and energy systems, the first and most important requirement is to ensure that farmers are financially sustainable.

Farms which are viable can re-invest to make their farms even more efficient. Policies which support EU farmers can achieve this; policies which further undermine the viability of farms are a road to nowhere.

Punch met Minister Naughten following the announcement yesterday that cabinet approval for the allocation of €2.5 million to support international climate action has been secured by the minister, according to the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.

Making the announcement before leaving for Germany, Minister Naughten stated: “This morning I secured cabinet approval for the allocation of an additional €2.5 million this year to support international climate action.

“The government has also agreed to support developing countries through sharing information and expertise around our Irish Aid programmes,” the minister added.

I am looking forward to representing Ireland at the High Level Segment of COP 23 in Bonn this week. This year’s conference is a crucial milestone on the journey to full implementation of the Paris Agreement.

To underpin Ireland’s commitment to full implementation the additional allocation will support a range of initiatives for international climate action.