Greens: European Parliament vote shows there will be no special deal for agriculture on emissions

Government deluded if it thinks “special case” argument is viable

The Green Party today welcomed the vote in the European Parliament to revise EU air quality legislation, setting out national limits on a range of air pollutants. The proposal strengthens the existing rules, and will set new binding targets for 2025 and 2030.
Commenting on today’s vote, Green Party Spokesperson on the Environment, Malcolm Noonan warned that Ireland faces serious challenges on pollutants and emissions and that arguing for special treatment in Europe won’t cut it.
“Today’s vote in the European Parliament is a welcome move. The EU has moved quickly after the Volkswagen scandal to show it takes the public health implications of emissions and pollutants seriously. Cutting the emissions set out in the proposal will save lives – it’s as simple as that.
“The vote does, however, pose a serious problem for Ireland, and exposes the fantasy the Government have been peddling that we can somehow double the size of our national herd and still meet our emissions targets and arguing that the scale of the agricultural sector would mean concessions from Europe. Despite intense lobbying by the agricultural sector ahead of today’s decision, the Parliament voted not to exempt important agricultural pollutants, like methane and ammonia, and quite rightly so. Can the Government really expect anything different when it comes to emissions?
“This problem also presents an opportunity, however, to revise Harvest 2020 into a more sustainable form. With price volatility in the dairy and beef sectors and market concerns about China’s economy, Ireland should look towards diversification into high-end low-carbon produce for EU market, and abandon the Chinese market plan.”