An Taisce brings climate issues to Oireachtas committee

Environmental group An Taisce addressed a sitting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, to discuss climate change and the Irish beef sector.

Ian Lumley, the An Taisce representative, claimed that practices and industries that “we’re used to” are not compatible with climate action.

He also argued that agriculture offers a “major opportunity” to do this, and that the Common Agriculture Policy can be used to “redirect” the industry away from “high carbon” food production models to “lower carbon” ones.

We also must recognise a rising voice of a new generation who are stridently telling us that our generation has failed in climate action.

Lumley also highlighted Ireland’s dependence on imported animal feed, as compared to other EU member states.

“Beef and dairy production are having problematic environmental effects,” he said, citing water quality as another challenge.

“Ammonia is another serious issue. Ireland is in breach of EU limits,” added Lumley, saying that agriculture accounts for most environmental ammonia.

The An Taisce representative said that, in order to meet “planetary boundaries”, we need to: limit carbon and methane entering the atmosphere; reverse biodiversity loss; and reduce phosphorous and nitrogen.

Lumley went on to dispute the claim that Irish production was “carbon efficient”, and claimed that other, apparently more up-to-date data indicated otherwise.

“The direction agriculture needs to move to is an immediate 2030 reduction target for emissions”, added Lumley, referencing the climate effects of fertiliser.