Farmers feel they are scapegoats in governments Climate Change plan

The Chairman of the Louth Irish Farmers Association has said there is a feeling of anger amongst local farmers that they are being picked on with regards to the government’s Climate Action Plan. Last Thursday the government announced that the agriculture sector would have to reduce emissions by 22% to 30% by 2030. There were also actions suggested to reduce methane levels and to increase the amount of land used for organic farming.

According to John Carroll, chairman of the Louth IFA most farmers locally don’t understand the talk around target emissions and the main feeling amongst them is one of anger as they feel that they are being scapegoated in the Climate Action Plan.

“All this talk about target emissions is confusing to the majority of farmers I have spoken to,” stated John. “They feel they are being unfairly targeted while other sectors are seemingly not being targeted at all even though we are apparently all in this together. With the methane issue there is 100 times more methane coming out of oil wells than is being emitted in the agricultural sector yet for some reason the focus is solely on us to reduce the levels of these emissions. I can tell you now that there will not be any cattle being culled to reduce herd numbers. Our numbers have been static for years and there are other ways of reducing methane emissions. I was listening to a professor talking on the radio the other day and she was explaining how you can put an additive in the slurry to reduce methane. Herd numbers in Ireland have been steady for years and if you are looking to cull cattle you should be looking elsewhere like Brazil who have grown their herd sizes exponentially over the last number of years.

“I’m a tillage farmer in Philipstown and my emissions and carbon footprint is very low. There are thousands of farmers like me whose emissions are very low, yet we are being asked to completely change the way we farm while other sectors get to keep doing what they are doing regardless of the effect their industry is having on the atmosphere. We had a couple of hundred private jets fly into Scotland last week to talk about Climate Change and of course they targeted the lowest hanging fruit which is the agriculture sector. We have supermarkets all over the country importing the likes of onions, cabbages and various fruit and veg rather than source them locally and not a word about that. What does the carbon footprint of these big supermarkets look like?”, asked John.

“As usual we are the easy targets and people in the farming community are sick and tired of being made the scapegoats. Climate change is an issue which is caused by many sectors but reading the recent commentary you would think that we are solely to blame. We contribute a hell of a lot to our national economy, yet we are being targeted unfairly by our government. And that is why we plan on protesting on the streets of Dublin on November 21st. Farmers and their families will be mobilising on the streets of Dublin to protest over what we feel is unfair targeting of our sector and we want the government to engage with us and listen to our concerns, so we feel a protest is the best way to get them to the table,” stated John.

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