Irish agriculture in the spotlight at climate change summit

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, will address the opening session of the UN climate change (COP 21) summit in Paris today.

He will confirm that Ireland remains totally committed to playing its part, within the context of a binding international agreement, to reduce the threat of global warming.

Ireland’s Environment Minster Alan Kenny will attend the event, which is expected to last a fortnight, on Thursday of this week.

Speaking on RTE, the Minister said that Ireland remains committed its meeting its Greenhouse Gas emission targets.

“These matters have already been agreed at an EU level.

But Ireland must also be allowed to sustainably intensify its farming industry.

“And this is particularly so where our grassland sectors are concerned.

“Making best use of grazed grass is the most natural way of producing milk, beef, and lamb. Ireland leads the way in this regard.

“Another issue which must be taken full account of, as we look forward, is the need to produce more food for a growing global population. And Ireland must be allowed to play its part in meeting this challenge.”

Kelly confirmed that the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill will be signed into law later this week. This legislation will require the development of National Mitigation and Adaptation Plans by various sectors within the economy.

“These plans will be informed by the most up to date scientific evidence and research findings,” he said.

The Minister also indicated that the ‘carbon capture’ potential of Ireland’s forests must be included in any future assessment of Irish agriculture’s mitigating activities, where climate change is concerned.

“The forest sector in Ireland plays an important role in offsetting climate change through the sequestration of carbon,” he said.

Department of Agriculture figures confirm that the net uptake of forests at national level is currently in the region of 4.8m tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year. Uptake in forests planted since 1990 is forecast to reach an average of 4.4m tonnes in the decade from 2012 to 2030.

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