‘Irish farming has everything to gain in going green’ – Eamon Ryan

“Irish farming has everything to gain in going green,” Minister Eamon Ryan said, at this weekend’s online Green Party National Convention.

Addressing the party members via web broadcast, the Minister for Climate Action, Communication Networks and Transport reflected on the first 100 days of the party being in government, along with looking at the measures needed in the future for tackling the climate crisis.

“Next week we will introduce our new Climate Action (Amendment) Bill which will set this country on the course to be fully carbon neutral by 2050,” Minister Ryan said.

“It will also set out how we intend delivering on the key component in the Programme for Government to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by, on average, at least 7% per annum for the next ten years.”

The minister said that if Covid-19 has reminded us of anything, it is “surely we are not immune to threats that come from stress to our natural world”. He continued:

We need to show the same urgency in our response to the climate and biodiversity crisis that we used in response to the pandemic. The next year is a critical point in time.

“We will devise this new plan in consultation with the farming and environmental organisations in recognition that this transition will best be delivered in a partnership approach.

“We are convinced that Irish farming has everything to gain in going green.”

Central to the climate policy is the establishment of a new national land use plan, according to Minister Ryan.

“It has to start with a strategy for how we can ensure vibrant communities across rural Ireland, where young people are paid well to provide truly origin green food; where we store carbon and restore biodiversity in everything we do in forestry and farming; where we bring back the pristine water conditions that have been lost in recent decades; and help protect our communities from flooding in more natural ways.

Forestry ‘will balance emissions we won’t be able to reduce in agriculture’

AgriLand got further details of the climate bill in an interview with Minister Ryan. He said that forestry will balance emissions we won’t be able to reduce in agriculture. He said:

“It’ll vary across different sectors – some sectors you won’t be able to get completely zero. Agriculture will be the main one – but there are what they call [carbon] ‘sources and sinks’.

Forestry would be a sink – we are able to store carbon there, so that will balance some of the emissions we won’t be able to reduce in agriculture.

“Every sector will go at different speeds depending on what’s doable and how quickly they can make the change. There will be different timelines and different approaches in each sector, including agriculture.”