Reacting to the outcome of COP26, IFA Environment Committee chair Paul O’Brien said the “unwillingness of some of the world’s biggest nations to tackle the issue of fossil fuel emissions compounds the sense of unfairness felt by Irish farmers who have an average of just 70 cattle per farm”.
“Farmers in Ireland are very conscious of the climate challenge and the need for farmers to play their part. But it needs to be fair,” O’Brien said.
“What is fair about adding targets and increased costs on Irish farm families, but allowing huge global coal producers to shirk their responsibilities?
“Last week, a commitment was given to cut global methane emissions by 30%. But the world’s biggest methane emitters – China, Russia and India – which contribute 35% of methane emissions, refused to sign up for it.
“This is not fair to Irish farmers, who are being asked to do more and more for less.”
Attending COP26 ‘without any clear plan’
He said that farm families “are genuinely fearful about what the future holds”.
“Recent government policy proposals, including those on the CAP, are all about reducing production and adding cost,” he continued.
“The CAP is there to support farmers to produce food. It cannot be expected to fund climate action as well.
“Many of the countries attending COP26 did so without any clear plan for playing their part. Our own government is no exception. IFA is asking for a proper plan with proper funding behind it.
“The outcome of COP26 once again highlights the issue of carbon leakage. If we produce less food in Ireland, more will be produced in countries with a higher carbon footprint, and in many cases in countries with no intention of playing their part to reduce emissions in any way. This will increase global warming.”