EU CHIEFS were urged yesterday to back planting trees in Ireland to offset greenhouse gas emissions.
A new Oireachtas report calls on Brussels officials to recognise the importance of forests in its strategy for reducing carbon dioxide levels.
The joint committees on agriculture and climate change recommended that the EU bring forward a directive outlining a national programme on forest carbon offsets.
Members also called for proposals on higher levels of financing for tree-planting under the EU’s post-2012 rural development plans.
The Kyoto agreement limits Ireland’s emissions to an average 62.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year up to 2012, with the use of expensive carbon credit trading going some way to ease pressure on emissions.
Fine Gael agriculture spokesman Andrew Doyle, author of the new report, said forestry needed be part of any plan for the country to meet its climate change obligations.
“This will ultimately allow Ireland to develop a forestry sector that will put it on par with its European counterparts, both in terms of the percentage of land cover and the need to build up an indigenous industry with a plentiful supply of raw material,” he said.
Experts have estimated an area almost the size of Longford needs to be planted with trees before 2020 to tackle the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.
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