Jack Quann
Jack Quann

17.44 1 Jul 2020


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The newly-appointed Agriculture Minister Barry Cowen says the onus is not only on his sector to help reduce carbon emissions.

The Programme for Government has committed to a 7% annual reduction in emissions.

But Minister Cowen told The Hard Shoulder "The traditional mandates remain - I think my goal will be to ensure that the industry brings together, or aligns, in a way in which production systems and consumer sentiment and environmental ambition are aligned as one.

"And that everybody moves together on that road.

"There is a uniqueness of agriculture that has been recognised and is provided for within the Programme for Government.

"It's not all about agriculture in relation to the movement that has to be made in relation to climate action.

"There are other areas that'll have a fair share of responsibility too - obviously in construction, in transport, in industry and so forth.

"But there will be a common purpose within the department, within those personnel that have responsibilities in it - irrespective of what party they are - to recognise the ambition that is contained within the Programme for Government.

"So we'll reduce emissions, we'll remove emissions, we'll move on energy solutions - all of which can combine to ensure that the products and the produce, which is world leaders presently, recognises the input it has had to date from an environmental and sustainable perceptive - but to improve upon that".

"We need to improve and be cognizant of new technologies and embrace those new technologies.

"You have feed stuffs, for example, which can have an impact too and reduce the emissions associated with methane.

"We're watching that closely and will move to take advantage of those commercial advancements.

"It's along that path we would like to travel".

"Like I said we can reduce emissions in one hand, we can remove emissions in another in relation to the inputs and the solutions and the programmes in relation to forestry and in relation to managing peat soils and so forth.

"And also the alternatives in relation to energy, self-sufficiencies on farms, TAM supports are there presently that help and assist with that.

"You've seen Danone in your own county today being mentioned as the first carbon neutral plant of its type in the world.

"So that's the sort of leadership and example that can be shown."

'It's not all about agriculture to reduce emissions' - Barry Cowen

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Main image: Minister for Agriculture and the Marine Barry Cowen arriving for the first Cabinet meeting of the new Government in Dublin Castle. Picture: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie 

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