The debate around the reduction in carbon emissions must be based on science and realistic solutions, not on ideologies Fine Gael MEP Colm Markey has said.

Markey was speaking as government talks on sectoral emissions ceilings continue this week. The midlands north representative said that arguing in favour of a higher target is pointless if it will not be achievable.

“I hear a lot of talk of greater ambition and higher numbers but the debate isn’t backed up with any practical, science based measures to achieve the targets.

“Ambition is the stuff of dreams but if it’s not based in practical solutions, it’s just idle talk and rhetoric”, he commented.

Markey stated that farmers “fully understand” the climate emergency as their livelihoods are dependent on it and recognised the efforts that are already being made to reduce agricultural emissions.

“The agricultural sector is the only sector that has put forward tangible proposals and a roadmap of what is possible and I believe the targets should reflect that,” he said.

Markey outlined that the agricultural industry in Ireland is one of the most efficient in the world, and said that it would be wrong to undermine it by displacing production to a less efficient location.

Speaking about the work that is underway on developing scientific and technological solutions that can help the industry meet its emission reduction goals, he said:

“There are possible technologies that could make a bigger impact, but they are far from ready for our agricultural model.

“Finding scientific solutions in the medium term will allow us continue to be the most sustainable in the longer term.”

He added that as these become more developed and viable, emissions targets could be reviewed and adjusted accordingly.

Addressing the other emissions intensive industries, Markey questioned how the aviation, maritime or construction sectors plan to decarbonise.

“Even with regard to the idea of electrification of our cars and vans, I don’t see enough focus on where all the green electricity is going to come from.

“It is only with practical, science based solutions that we can succeed in addressing the challenges we face,” he concluded.