The minister hopes that targets for reducing emissions will be published later this month

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said he hoped legally binding targets for emissions cuts would be signed before the end of this month.

The environment minister said all three ruling parties backed the Paris climate agreement and predicted they would reach an agreement on emissions cuts in the agricultural sector.

Ireland has committed to halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and reducing to net-zero emissions by 2050.

Asked when the sectoral targets would be released, Mr Ryan told the RTE This Week programme: “Hopefully before the end of the month we aim to do that.

“It’s important that we do this.

“It sets the sectoral targets for each sector, transport, energy, commercial buildings, public buildings, agriculture.

“It’s a real challenge because the scale of change is unparalleled.

“It will only work and we will only deliver it quickly if it is a change for the better.

“A lot of the discussions I have with the Department of Agriculture, the Minister for Agriculture, is about how we can do this and also increase Irish farmers’ incomes.”

Mr Ryan added: “I think transport will be the most important.

“This requires a tremendous commitment to change at the local level, where we are shifting to more public transport, more active travel, where we are reducing traffic and switching fuels.

“Every industry has its own challenges. No industry can be left out.”

The Climate Change Advisory Council has recommended CO2 savings of 22% to 30% in the agricultural sector.

Mr Ryan was asked if he was confident of convincing his coalition partners to agree to a 30% cut.

He said: “I am confident that we will reach an agreement.”

Mr Ryan said some of the measures envisaged for farming would involve reducing the number of animals.

He added: “Some of the measures would increase Irish farming income but also result in a reduction in livestock numbers.

“You don’t just look at the numbers, you also have to look at the revenue side.

“The vast majority of our products are sold around the world. We get a bounty because people think of this as a beautiful green island in people’s minds.

“Not only do we need to do it for climate reasons, but also to restore water quality, to restore biodiversity, so we have every reason to make this change.

“There is a common understanding. We will reach a final agreement on the sector.

“All three parties in the government agreed that Ireland is doing its part to fulfill the Paris climate agreement.

“That’s what we need, we just heard that what we’ve been talking about for decades is now arriving.” The minister hopes that targets for reducing emissions will be published later this month

Fry Electronics Team

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