ICOS has welcomed the publication of a very comprehensive and balanced report on climate change by the Oireachtas.
The report by the Oireachtas is of immense importance to the future of our country, rural Ireland and the agri-food sector. ICOS reiterates our strong commitment to work in partnership with all stakeholders to ensure the implementation of the report’s recommendations, especially those related to the agri-food sector and co-operative development.
Specifically, ICOS is pleased to see the Report’s strong emphasis on knowledge sharing and the roll out of the 25 climate mitigation measures contained in the Teagasc Marginal Abatement Cost Curve. In 2018, ICOS published a report on climate change and our key recommendation focused on knowledge sharing. This is a recognition that there are no quick fixes when it comes to mitigation from agriculture as methane and nitrous oxide are biological emissions.
The adoption of EBI, improved nitrogen use efficiency, uptake of protected urea, use of low emission spreading equipment, greater use of milk recording, extending the grazing season are all examples of practical measures that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. The critical message to farmers is that there is a strong correlation between the uptake of these carbon efficiency measures and farm level profitability.
The co-op sector will continue to play an important role in fostering knowledge sharing through joint programmes between the dairy sector and Teagasc and new collaborative initiatives like the Agricultural Sustainability Support Programme through Dairy Sustainability Ireland.
ICOS has also welcomed the Report’s recommendation to develop a network of AD or biogas co-ops. Anaerobic digestion is a proven technology with significant potential to reduce emissions from stored slurry and manure, will reduce nitrous oxide emissions and also offset fossil fuel as an energy source. However, there is a clear need for meaningful support from the Government to maximise the potential of AD biogas in Ireland, recognising the high investment costs involved.
ICOS is willing to work with farmer and industry stakeholders to help develop the AD sector in Ireland on a co-operative basis by providing legal and governance advice and support to communities and groups of farmers willing to invest in the AD sector. ICOS can provide a Rulebook appropriate to the needs of individual businesses that will serve to protect democratic ownership and control.
Eamonn Farrell – Agri Food Policy Executive
21 Nov 2023