Republic of Ireland emission cuts 'problematic'

time:2023-06-03 01:57:35source:BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation) author:Press center2

Sectoral targets agreed by the Irish cabinet are "problematic" and not consistent with the Climate Act, the chair of the Climate Change Advisory Council has said.

Ministers finalised plans that ask farmers to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2030 on Thursday.

Maria Donnelly added targets will need to be revised upwards as cuts show a total reduction of just 43%.

She said plans do not show how cuts are consistent with carbon budgets.

Under the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act, carbon budgets should equate to a total reduction of 51%.

Ms Donnelly also said the agreement excludes the Land Use Sector, and branded the targets "problematic".

The current government's climate action plan pledged carbon emission reduction cuts of between 22% and 30%.

The compromise reduction target for the agriculture sector comes after negotiations between the three party leaders in the governing coalition.

The Green Party had been pushing for the higher targets but rural TDs (MPs) pushed for the lower end.

An agreement was formally signed off by the cabinet on Thursday.

Party leaders Micheál Martin of Fianna Fáil, Leo Varadkar of Fine Gael and Eamon Ryan of the Greens, met throughout Wednesday to hammer out a deal.

The differences narrowed significantly on Tuesday with Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue, a Fianna Fáil TD, refusing to go above a 24% emissions reduction target.

However, Mr McConalogue has assured farmers that herd sizes will not be cut as a result of the agreement.

He said he will collaborate with farm representatives to "stretch" a current plan that sees a 22% reduction in emissions to meet the agreed target.

The minister also agreed to support work reducing emissions, and put in measures to improve farm family incomes.

The deal has faced criticism from a number of opposition parties who say it does not go far enough.

"This would be a shocking lack of leadership by government and clearly demonstrates they are not prepared to, or capable of, making the tough decisions required to deal with climate change," Jennifer Whitmore, of the Social Democrats, said.

People Before Profit TD Bríd Smith said the target was "not in line with the science or Paris [Agreement]".

Some TDs from the governing parties have also been critical, including Christopher O'Sullivan of Fianna Fáil, who said action on climate change was needed but argued going too fast would have a detrimental impact on "what is an important industry, particularly for rural Ireland".

The Irish Farmers' Association has warned the emissions cut target was potentially devastating blow for Irish farming and the rural economy.

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