IFA Alternative Land Use Project team leader JJ Kavanagh said Irish agriculture could be big losers as a result of climate change caused by ever increasing CO2 emissions.
“The fortunes of farming are very much linked to weather. Weather-related events across the world have this season seen one of the smallest wheat harvests in over 25 years, leading to huge price volatility,” he said.
Mr Kavanagh said the Government must be capable of supplying bio-ethanol, biodiesel and pure plant vegetable oil to the transport sector.
“In the medium to long term there is a serious question mark over the availability of biofuels on the world market as many more countries are actively contemplating making the incorporation of biofuels mandatory,” he said.
Mr Kavanagh said the generation of combined heat and power from biomass must also be targeted as a means of reducing CO2 emissions.
The four main peat powered stations should be obligated to generate a proportion of their electricity from renewable energy sources.
“This would provide green electricity generated from biomass that could be fed into the national grid using the existing infrastructure, reducing transmission losses and improving the reliability of electricity supply at peak times,” he said.
Mr Kavanagh said biofuels cost more than fossil fuels even at today’s high oil prices.
“The Government must act now to ensure that we build a sustainable agricultural bio-energy industry that is capable of delivering benefits to the entire economy,” he said.