An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny has been accused of ‘going to bat’ for Ireland’s ‘powerful agriculture and food processing industry lobby’ at this week’s key climate change talks in Paris.

In a statement, yesterday at the talks, the Taoiseach said Ireland is determined to play its part in addressing climate change.

“We have committed, with our EU partners, to a collective target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030.”

He said Ireland’s national long-term vision is presented in climate legislation, which sets out our intention to substantially cut CO2 emissions by 2050.

However, he said this is in the context of developing an approach towards carbon neutrality in the land sector that does not compromise our capacity for food production.

“We are developing a National Mitigation Plan to achieve that vision

“One really significant area for Ireland is our valuable and already efficient agriculture sector.

“Through a series of programmes, like carbon foot-printing 43,500 beef farms and 18,000 dairy farms, we are driving economic and environmental efficiency in agriculture and achieving results that we believe are both transferable and scalable,” he said.

“Our research will contribute to global progress and help all countries realise the potential of their land sectors in addressing climate change.

“This is not just about opportunities – but about the cooperation that will allow us to address our common challenges. Real transparency and accountability will benefit us all but we need to trust each other and the systems that we operate in.”

Taoiseach accused of ‘going to bat’ for Ireland’s ‘powerful agriculture lobby’

Responding to the Taoiseach’s speech on climate change An Tasice said it was disjointed and deeply flawed.

It said instead of setting out a clear pathway for dramatic decarbonisation of the Irish economy and our transition to a safer, sustainable future, the Taoiseach used his opportunity with the world’s leaders present to again peddle the tactics of Ireland’s powerful agriculture and food processing industry lobby in pleading for ‘special treatment’ for one particular sector of the Irish economy.

An Taisce said rather than engaging with the reality of spiralling emissions arising from the impacts of Food Harvest 2020/Food Wise 2025, which sees an addional 300,000 dairy cattle added to the national herd, Mr. Kenny chose instead to ‘waffle’ about ‘carbon foot-printing 43,500 beef farms and 18,000 dairy farms’.

“Adding 300,000 carbon foot-printed cattle still increases GHGs,” it said.