Fine Gael’s Colm Markey has criticised the recent debate around carbon emissions for being too focused on ideologies and numbers as opposed to science and solutions.
The Midlands-North-West MEP was speaking as discussions continue at Government level on sectoral emissions ceilings.
“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.
“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. Efforts are already underway to lower farm emissions and there are possible technologies that could make a bigger impact in the medium term but they are far from ready for our agricultural model. We can review the targets if and when these become a reality.
“It would be wrong to undermine an industry that is amoung the most efficient in the world and displace production to a less efficient location. Finding scientific solutions in the medium term will allow us continue to be the most sustainable in the longer term”, he added.
Markey, who sits on the European Parliament Committee on Agriculture, said he understands the deep frustration expressed by his party colleagues at the weekend about farming being scapegoated in the debate about sectoral emissions.
“I see no proposals about how aviation, maritime or construction will decarbonise. Agriculture has already put forward realistic proposals but could be penalised with a higher target as a result. 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.”
“Farmers, perhaps more than others, fully understand the climate emergency as their livelihoods are directly impacted by it but it is only with practical, science-based solutions, we can succeed in addressing the challenges we face”, he concluded.