Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has accused the European Court of Auditors (ECA) of making “wild accusations” as part of a recent report published on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

In the report, the EU body found that the European Commission attributed over €100 billion of CAP funds during the 2014-2020 period to tackling climate change.

Despite this, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the agriculture sector have “changed little” since 2010, according to the ECA.

Court of Auditors being ‘disingenuous’

Speaking on the matter, Fitzmaurice said: “The original purpose of the CAP was to support farmers to produce food in order to make it more accessible and affordable for people right across Europe.

“However, a recent report from the European Court of Auditors claims that despite spending over €100 billion of EU funds on climate action in the past seven years, that greenhouse gas [GHG] emissions from agriculture have not decreased since 2010.

“Given that the primary purpose of the CAP is to support farmers to produce food, it is disingenuous for the Court of Auditors to claim that the EU Commission needs to take action against agriculture to address the supposed lack of progress on reducing emissions,” the deputy continued.

Increased budget needed

The Roscommon-Galway TD added: “If they [ECA] wish to bring the environment into it, then the budget should be increased to reflect this.

“One would imagine that the European Court of Auditors would be more concerned with properly signing off on the EU’s budget than making such claims on the CAP,” Fitzmaurice added.

Meanwhile, also today, it was reported that Ireland will not meet its 2020 GHG emissions reduction targets.

The EPA published its GHG emissions projections to 2040, which will form part of the discussions at the EPA Climate Conference taking place tomorrow (Wednesday).

The figures show Ireland is projected to have exceeded its 2013-2020 EU Effort Sharing Decision target by 12.2 Mt CO2 eq, but that it can meet its current EU 2021-2030 target with full implementation of the measures in the 2019 Climate Action Plan.

This would result in a 2% per annum emissions reduction pathway from 2021 to 2030.