The President of ICMSA has written to TDs expressing the association’s “deep concerns” over the proposed Climate Action Bill and its potential impact on the Irish agriculture sector.
Pat McCormack explained that, as the farm organisation most associated with Ireland’s unique family farm model, ICMSA is particularly anxious about the Bill’s impact on that pillar support of rural Ireland.
He noted three main areas of concern including:
- The direction of Bill;
- An absence of any clear economic analysis of highly probable effects;
- The Bill’s proposal to effectively hand over the decision making on this critical matter to an unelected council.
“It is unacceptable that Ireland’s biggest and most successful indigenous economic activity - farming and food production - is casually endangered in the way it most assuredly is by this Climate Action Bill,” said Mr McCormack.
“TDs must ensure that adequate protections for our farming and wider agri-food sector are included in the Climate Action Bill before it is passed through the Oireachtas.”
ICMSA’s president went on to say that Irish farmers recognised their environmental obligations and were responding to those obligations as quickly and effectively as resources and research would allow them.
“We cannot accept the idea that our sector can be shut-down with the thousands of individuals and families involved being told to ‘diversify’ where no such opportunity exists,” he added.
“There is now overwhelming evidence stating that the Climate Action Bill as currently structured will squeeze family farming out of the sector.
“Farm families are the social, cultural and demographic props of rural Ireland and the damage inflicted will undermine the whole structure of their communities.”
Meanwhile, the Bill which is at its fourth stage before the Dail was enacted for the purpose of pursuing the transition to a climate resilient, biodiversity rich and climate neutral economy by no later than the end of 2050.
- It promotes climate justice;
- Makes certain changes to the Climate Change Advisory Council;
- Provides for carbon budgets and a sectoral emissions ceiling to apply to different sectors of the economy;
- Provides for reporting by Ministers of the Government to a joint committee of the Houses of the Oireachtas;
- Provides for local authority climate action plans;
- Can amend the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015;
- Provides that local authorities take account of their climate action plans.