EEP Group

Kelly: Concrete measures must swiftly accompany agriculture emission targets

Published: Mon, 01 August 2022

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Speaking from his constituency office in Clonmell (Monday), MEP for Ireland South, Sean Kelly, has stated “now that the 25% deal is reached for emissions reductions in agriculture it must be accompanied by concrete measures to help farmers actually achieve it.”

Kelly, who is lead author for the European Parliament’s Industry and Energy Committee on sustainable carbon cycles, added “we are looking at a complete transformation of how we produce and consume if we are to meet the challenge of climate change and everybody must understand this. It is a very fine balance though, we cannot just ignore that people need to make a living.”

“A sustainable business model, both in environmental and economic terms, is within reach, but we need strong leadership from the government to provide certainty to the market and businesses. Targets are important, but I am more interested in the details of how the government will incentivise farmers.”

“If reduction targets are imposed, then we must create direct incentives as currently there is no targeted policy tool to significantly incentivise the increase and protection of carbon sinks for land managers and farmers. We must move to a system that rewards farmers’ efforts in implementing more climate-friendly practices.”

“I have called on the European Commission to create a robust, credible and transparent system of tradeable carbon credits. Carbon farming is positive for biodiversity and the quality of the soil as well as for the climate, it should also then be a revenue source.”

“Ireland is considered to have the highest potential to exploit biogas in the EU, yet it remains an untapped resource. We need a national strategy to encourage the expansion of biomethane technology and address technical and market barriers that exist. Biogas is a renewable energy source that can be injected into the current gas grid, yet even with the current crisis, seeking to significantly increase domestic production has not been part of the conversation enough.”

“Additionally, the anaerobic digesters that produce biogas by breaking down organic matter, also produce a nutrient rich digestate that can be used as fertilizer for crops. Bearing in mind that the second largest source of emissions in agriculture is nitrous oxide from spreading fertilisers and slurry, growing the anaerobic digester industry in Ireland is a no brainer.”

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