Arising from the latest demands by the Green Party for the Climate Change Response Bill 2010, I am calling on the Government not to scapegoat the agriculture sector in its attempt to defy political extinction. It is my belief that the farming community have already proved themselves as pioneers in sustainable practices.
In recent weeks, the Green party have made it a condition of remaining in Government that their Climate Change Response Bill be passed by the Oireachtas. The Bill seeks to impose a structure for the transition to a to a low-carbon society and a range of targets to reduce green house emissions by 80% by 2050 from 1990 levels, or 2.5% per year by 2020 from 2008 levels.
I believe that the Green party are in survival mode and attempting to save face amongst its own membership; however the agricultural sector cannot be penalised once again. The agriculture sector represents families and communities, who have already been subjected to significant costs and charges in the past year. It is clear that the issue of environmental protection, and planning for a sustainable environment is in everyone’s interest, however I believe that the agriculture sector should not be scapegoated in order to achieve these ends.
The agriculture sector have been pioneers in sustainable practices and far more adaptable than other sectors; they should be complimented and supported. The role of the agricultural sector is unique in Ireland; and is tied closely into our economy. I want to ensure that we do not create barriers for the sector; and that burdens are shared across the board. Other policy areas such as transport and energy clearly contribute to our climate change also.
The Climate Change Response Bill has been described as a ‘national priority” by the Green Party, and was published two days before Christmas. Public Consultation is open until the 28th January. The Green Party expect it to be enacted by the Oireachtas in February.
The agriculture sector should not be made a political football by the Greens. The Climate Change Bill should be carefully considered, and not be rushed for the sake of political one upmanship.