There is no more time to play politics with agricultural emissions

Politics and nature have proven to be unfortunate bedfellows.

neither global warming nor the future of our children and our planet compares very badly to the security of a Dáil seat or the prospects of a party poll. The standoff over the extent to which agriculture should reduce its carbon emissions is the latest in a shameful display of delays in addressing one of the fundamental problems of our time.

With the farming sector, a deepening “them and us” divide has emerged when it comes to meeting climate stewardship.

But in the fight to save the planet, there is only “us”. It is no longer acceptable for a group or sector to evade its obligations and moral obligations by making a special plea. Continuing to introduce the issue of food security to advance the cause is also disingenuous. The cuts are strict because they have to be.

Politicians are obviously concerned about alienating farmers by going beyond the strict limits. The easiest thing would be to stay in the slipstream of popularity and go with the traffic. But if we don’t find an exit, this particular route can only end in disaster.

The Fine Gael TDs group, who claim Ireland’s “current spate of blame-pointing” risks tarnishing the nation’s reputation as one of “the world’s most sustainable producers of top-quality food”, speaks to the self-serving nature of some of the debates.

No one is “pointing the finger” at farmers or trying to scapegoat the sector.

We have a duty to face the realities and change our processes in the face of a dangerously overheated Earth.

We have to do things differently. The luxury of choice was lost a decade ago when we refused to acknowledge the urgency.

We can still deliver world-class products, but the focus must be on sustainability.

The Greens find their feet held in the flames just for doing as they said from the start.

They made it clear for a long time that they would push for big cuts. The matter could jeopardize the harmony of the coalition.

Agriculture Secretary Charlie McConalogue is also feeling the heat from farmers and the backbenchers of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, who are all looking for a lower limit.

The goal is to reduce CO2 emissions by 50 percent by 2030. And legislating such a commitment is part of the Greens’ raison d’être for power.

Sinn Féin has yet to commit to what level of emissions reductions it prefers. But the clock is definitely ticking.

The Farmers Union of Ireland has said its contributions in the race to cut emissions must be recognised.

The nation rightly has an abiding respect for farmers. But if there’s ever a case where we’re all stuck in this together, this is it.

About 60 years ago, Marshall McLuhan said, “There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew.”

Under these circumstances, no one but ourselves can change course, and the time to do so was yesterday. There is no more time to play politics with agricultural emissions

Fry Electronics Team

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