Fine Gael MEP Colm Markey has welcomed the publication of the Climate Action Plan and described the targets as challenging but achievable. Markey – a member of the European Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee – said the plan will give farmers certainty and allow them to continue to produce world-class food with an even lower carbon footprint.
The Midlands-North-West commented, “Farmers know the land better than anyone else and they are part of the climate solution. They deserve credit for coming up with innovative solutions to reduce emissions rather than being subjected to unfair criticism by so-called environmentalists. A science-based approach, backed by robust research will empower farmers to reduce emissions even further, particularly in the areas of genetics, dietary supplements, manure management and pasture based systems. Reducing methane within the system should be the focus as opposed to an idealistic obsession with herd cuts. It’s also imperative that farmers are supported through the transition so that the agri-food sector remains as one of Ireland’s largest industries and some 160,000 jobs and €14 billion worth of exports are protected.”
Markey also welcomed the targets set for the energy sector but said it is critical that legislative framework is progressed to get offshore projects off the ground.
“Reports today that a leading energy developer has pulled out of the Irish market are disappointing and demonstrates the urgency to progress the Maritime Area Planning Bill which will hopefully happen in the weeks ahead. Wind is the way forward if Ireland is to achieve its climate targets and offshore renewable energy could not only provide the solution but also open up a range of economic opportunities for rural Ireland. Apart from the legislative framework, we need to accelerate connections of new renewables to the national grid and develop port capacity”, he concluded.