According to Macra na Feirme, the news that agriculture must reduce its emissions by 21-30% by 2030 lacks climate justice.
National president, John Keane, has said that climate justice is about the fair treatment of all people and the freedom from discrimination in policy creation.
Keane stated blanket reductions “disproportionately” impact young farmers by limiting their ability to enter the sector.
He said they also create instability for those who have recently heavily invested in their businesses.
“Where is the climate justice? When 100 global companies are responsible for 71% of global emissions and not a word on their part in reducing climate change.”
He stated that any solution to an environmental problem needs to consider the “unjust and unequal” situation.
“Placing a cap on the agriculture sector in Ireland will exclude young people from entering the sector,” he warned.
“We are already facing a crisis in Ireland with regard to the age breakdown of farmers. Placing further restrictions on the sector and limiting young new entrants will only further deepen the crisis.”
“Young new entrants into the sector are more educated than previous generations and understand that climate change is the defining issue of our generation.”
He outlined that it is these farmers who are going to make the changes needed to reduce carbon emissions. “But their ability to enter the sector is limited,” he added.
The government needs to stand by, not stand on Irish agriculture, renowned for quality and traceability across the world.
Keane highlighted that Irish farming is among the most sustainable across the world. “With the population estimated to grow by 25% over the next 30 years, more food is going to be required to feed the world, not less.”
“Moving food production from Ireland to other countries in the world where production is less efficient will exacerbate climate change, the exact opposite of what is desired.”
“We don’t get to be complacent; we are young and knowledgeable and acknowledge change needs to happen.”
“But, we need to be given a chance to enter the sector to change it. The current targets threaten to exclude young farmers from entering the sector,” he concluded.
Furthermore, the ICSA has also released a statement on the matter.