‘We cannot just ignore that people need to make a living’

MEP Seán Kelly: “It’ s a very fine balance though – we cannot just ignore that people need to make a living”

The deal reached for emissions reductions in agriculture must be accompanied by concrete measures to help farmers actually achieve it, Kerry-based MEP Seán Kelly has insisted.

The Ireland South representative, who is lead author for the European Parliament’s industry and energy committee on sustainable carbon cycles, said there is a complete transformation required on how Ireland produces and consumes if it is to meet the challenge of climate change and everybody must understand this.

“It is a very fine balance though – we cannot just ignore that people need to make a living,” he insisted.

MEP Kelly said sustainable business model, both in environmental and economic terms, is within reach but strong leadership from the government is needed to provide certainty to the market and businesses.

Direct incentives are required for land managers and farmers

“Targets are important but I am more interested in the details of how the government will incentivise farmers,” he said.

“If reduction targets are imposed then we must create direct incentives as currently there is no targeted policy tool to significantly incentivise the increase and protection of carbon sinks for land managers and farmers.

“We must move to a system that rewards farmers’ efforts in implementing more climate-friendly practices,” the Killarney-based politician stated.

Mr Kelly has called on the European Commission to create a robust, credible and transparent system of tradeable carbon credits.

“Carbon farming is positive for biodiversity and the quality of the soil as well as for the climate, it should also then be a revenue source,” he said.

“Ireland is considered to have the highest potential to exploit bio-gas in the EU, yet it remains an untapped resource. We need a national strategy to encourage the expansion of bio-methane technology and address technical and market barriers that exist,” MEP Kelly said.

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