Jer Bergin, IFA Regional Vice-President and Climate Change Chairman, has condemned the EU climate targets as “excessive”.
In a statement issued today, the IFA called on the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Environment to ensure that any decisions on future climate policy support economic recovery.
Speaking in advance of a presentation to the Committee today, Mr. Bergin said, “The Irish agri-food sector is making a real contribution to the sustainable recovery of the national economy.” Bergin cited the industry’s export earnings worth over €9bn last year; supporting 300,000 jobs in all parts of the country and producing over 15% of the world’s infant formula.
Bergin also said “Environmental sustainability is a central part of food production in this country. Ireland has a grass-based, emission efficient model, which must be supported to grow and develop, to allow it be part of the recovery of the national economy.
“We expect demand for our products to increase significantly over the next decade and farmers in Ireland are well positioned to meet this growing demand in a sustainable way.”
Mr Bergin said the debate on climate action must take international issues like food security and the importance of supporting emission efficient, food-producing regions such as Ireland into account.
“The EU climate targets imposed on Ireland are excessive,” Bergin said. “There is a real opportunity for this Committee, as part of its deliberations to recognise the sustainability credentials of the agri-food sector and to support its future development by rectifying the wrong of the 2009 EU effort sharing decision.”