We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Alamy Stock Photo
Greenhouse Gases

Greenwashing would be 'worst sin' and 'biggest risk' to Irish agriculture, says Eamon Ryan

After long discussions, the government agreed yesterday 25% reduction in agriculture emissions by 2030.

GREENWASHING WOULD BE the “worst sin” and “biggest risk” to Irish agriculture, as opposed to reducing emissions, according to Minister for Climate Eamon Ryan.

The minister suggested that greenwashing – the practice of overstating or fabricating a positive environmental impact – would threaten the agriculture sector’s position as an exporter.

The sector has spent the last several months pushing back against a proposal for a 30% cut in agriculture emissions by 2030.

After long discussions, the government agreed yesterday on a target – which could have been set anywhere between 22% and 30% – of 25%.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan, who was up against pushback from rural TDs in coalition partners Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, said this morning that the sector needs reform to secure a stable income for farmers while also protecting the climate.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio One, Ryan said: “I don’t believe the current system actually pays and benefits a lot of family farms. I don’t believe it gives a really good income to encourage a lot of young people to go into farming and forestry and managing our land.”

“So this change, I think, is going to be good. We need to give a clear signal that there will be a good income for family farms so you know with confidence for the next three decades, if [you] go in this direction, [you’d] be able to raise a family and have a really purposeful social life,” he said.

“The other part of this is most of our farm produce is exported. We trade on the Origin Green brand. We cannot trade on a false brand.

“Greenwashing would be the worst sin, would be the most damaging, biggest risk to Irish agriculture.”

The targets agreed for each sector are:

  • Electricity – 75%
  • Transport – 50%
  • Commercial and public buildings – 45%
  • Residential Buildings – 40%
  • Industry – 35%
  • Agriculture – 25%
  • Others (including petroleum refining and waste) – 50%

The targets were meant to include a limit for the land-use and forestry sector but this was deferred another 18 months pending a land-use strategy.

Many areas, through the remit of government departments and agencies, have already been trying to reduce their emissions, particularly through the Climate Action Plan 2021 published last November.

Now, with the specific sector-by-sector figures agreed, a new Climate Action Plan 2023 in the coming months will give further detail about how those reductions can be achieved.

An update shared at the latest Cabinet meeting outlined that of 584 measures due to be completed by June, 71% have been finished.

Between April and June, 277 measures were meant to be done but only 45% were achieved in that timeframe.

“It does take time to change farming and change land use, it takes time to plant a forest, it takes time to change a farm, it’s not easy,” Ryan said today.

“It will take us time in my mind to bring in a whole new generation of young people which we want to go into farming, as well as those working in it at the moment, but we want to create a system where we have a whole new generation of people who are the frontline defenders of nature as well as producers of high-quality food.

He said that each year the government will “continue to look at what’s happening and the Climate Action Plan is revised, that’s the way it’s structured in the law”.

“The truth is we have to go to net-zero and that will take three decades. Even the target of 2030 is not the fixed line, that’s on the way to an even more significant change,” he said.

“Come what may, every sector is going to be part of that net-zero final outcome and the real question is, how can we do it as a just transition? How can we do it where we maintain public support? How can we do so that it’s good for our economy and protects nature?”

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel