The European Parliament will meet next week when MEPs will vote on a European Commission strategy to reduce methane emissions.
Speaking in the run up to that vote, Ireland Midlands North-West MEP Colm Markey said that he and a number of his colleagues have tabled amendments to the vote which would take account of methane reduction technologies.
The amendments are intended to add to the text – already agreed by the parliament’s Environment Committee a couple of weeks ago – by recognising ways in which methane reduction can be achieved in agriculture through the development of new technologies.
At the end of September, the Environment Committee of the parliament officially adopted a report on the strategy, paving the way for it to be approved by a full plenary session of parliament.
The seven amendments received the support of 73 MEPs (two more than the required threshold of 71) and will be voted on in next week’s plenary meeting.
“These amendments offer a pathway as to how agriculture can aim to address its significant methane responsibilities,” Markey said.
“The amendments recognise the role that new technologies can play in methane mitigation such as dietary supplements, advances in breeding and manure management,” the Fine Gael MEP explained.
“They also call for the establishment of a baseline year by which any reduction in methane emissions can be measured against.”
Markey continued: “In addition, the amendments recognise the importance of biogas, which is an industry I believe we need to build on; and pasture-based systems as well as the role of livestock in the production of edible proteins, maintaining biodiversity and utilising non-arable land.”
The amendments also recognise the “cyclical nature of biogenic methane and how its life cycle is fundamentally different to carbon and fossil fuel methane,” according to the MEP.
“Overall, these measures offer practical, workable solutions that allow agriculture to address its considerable environmental responsibility in a way that’s good for both the climate and food security.
“I believe farmers want to take responsibility and these amendments put them in the driving seat and give them the tools to enact change rather than lecturing them without offering real solutions,” he added.
Markey concluded: “I want to thank all 73 MEPs who supported these amendments but it’s important to point out they they’re worth nothing unless we get them through plenary next week.”