Oireachtas climate report ‘immensely important to agri-food’

The report from the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action, which was officially released yesterday, Tuesday, April 16, is “of immense importance” to Ireland’s agri-food sector.

That’s according to Michael Spellman, the president of the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society (ICOS), which was one of the farm groups that addressed the committee.

Spellman thanked the committee members for their “comprehensive and balanced” report which, argued Spellman, is a “critical issue for our generation”.

After much debate and testimony from different stakeholders across a number of sectors, the ‘Climate Change: A Cross Party Consensus for Action’ report was officially released yesterday.

“The report by the Oireachtas is of immense importance to the future of our country, rural Ireland and the agri-food sector. ICOS reiterates our strong commitment to work in partnership with all stakeholders to ensure the implementation of the report’s recommendations,” said Spellman.

In particular, he referenced anaerobic digestion (AD) and the environmental benefits it could have; however, he called for greater support from the Government to allow farmers to take up the initiative.

“Anaerobic digestion is a proven technology with significant potential to reduce emissions from stored slurry and manure,” he said.

However, there is a clear need for meaningful support from the Government to maximise the potential of AD biogas in Ireland, recognising the high investment costs involved.

Another positive point of the report is, according to Spellman, its emphasis on knowledge sharing and the roll out of climate mitigation measures outlined in Teagasc’s ‘Marginal Abatement Cost Curve’.

“There are no quick fixes when it comes to mitigation from agriculture, as methane and nitrous oxide are biological emissions,” he claimed.

“The critical message to farmers is that there is a strong correlation between the uptake of these carbon efficiency measures and farm level profitability,” Spellman argued.