Farmers accused of misrepresenting the science on climate change

The Irish Farmer's Association (IFA) says farmers are tired of being kicked around and scapegoated when it comes to climate action.

Farmers accused of misrepresenting the science on climate change

The Irish Farmer's Association (IFA) says farmers are tired of being kicked around and scapegoated when it comes to climate action.

It is holding an event today in an effort to address some of the issues.

The 'Climate Action in Agriculture - A Balanced Approach' event takes place at the RCPI in Dublin this afternoon.

President of the Irish Farmer's Association Joe Healy says Irish farmers are the most carbon efficient in the world.

"Very little has been said about what Irish farming has done sequestering carbon. Irish dairy farmers are the most carbon efficient producers of dairy product in Europe and in the top five when it comes to beef production," said Mr Healy.

"What we don't want to see is carbon leakage and if we stop producing those two products here then we will see other countries, like Brazil, jumping in to fill that vacuum and they are up to five times less carbon efficient than we are."

Mr Healy claims that since 1990 emissions have only increased by 1% despite the fact that agriculture has increased it's production by 40%.

"We also have a roadmap for the next 10 years, the Teagasc Climate Abatement Plan, and within that Teagasc guesstimates that we have the potential to reduce our emissions by over 30-40% over the next ten years."

However, An Taisce says that the claim that Irish beef is greener is completely false.

It claims that the IFA has set out to "systematically misrepresent" the science on climate change.

"Our agricultural emissions in this sector have risen by well over 20%," said spokesperson for An Taisce, John Gibbons.

"There has been no decoupling, there is no magic formula to remove methane from the atmosphere quickly.

"This is nothing more than a political talking point being pushed from a very partisan point of view by an organisation that has set about to systematically misrepresent the science."

Mr Gibbons said that farmers are importing vast amounts of feed from overseas because there is not enough grass.

"Lasy year, Ireland imported 5.3 million tonnes of feed for our vast herd because we couldn't grow enough of this grassland that we keep talking about to actually feed our own animals," said Mr Gibbons.

"Where are we importing this feed from? South America and from Asia.

"In so doing, we are contributing to food insecurity in other parts of the world."

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