The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue T.D. and the Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Senator Pippa Hackett today welcomed the opportunity to meet with EU Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans to discuss issues related to climate change and biodiversity.
The Ministers noted a positive exchange with the Commissioner and the scope for further collaboration between Ireland and the EU on the Green Deal ambitions and links to national policy.
The European Commission Green Deal is the cornerstone of the Commission’s increased ambition on climate action. Its objective is that the EU will become the world’s first climate neutral continent by 2050 and sets out the policy and legislative agenda for climate and the environment.
Minister McConalogue noted, “Overall the Green Deal ambitions for sustainable growth are well reflected in the Irish agricultural policy approach. The Green Deal objective to make Europe the first climate neutral continent by 2050 aligns well with national climate policy and in particular with our agriculture sector climate and air roadmap, Ag Climatise – A Roadmap Towards Climate Neutrality. We will be giving effect to these through the development of our CAP Strategic Plan this year which will outline our ambition to 2027. Central to our climate ambitions is the protection of farm incomes. Commissioner Timmermans and ourselves are clear on how we must work together to ensure alignment between EU and national policy on these very important questions.”
Forestry and the role in climate change mitigation was also discussed and its importance in achieving carbon neutrality in the land use sector. The importance of protecting biodiversity is also an intrinsic part of the Green Deal and the Biodiversity Strategy 2030 puts in place a framework that will be reflected in national policies.
Minister Hackett added, “As is the case with the Green Deal, we have ambitions to embrace climate and environmental challenges and turn them into opportunities. As we do that, we must ensure the transition is just and inclusive for all. While we are not underestimating the task ahead, we are determined to make the Green Deal work for the agriculture and land use sector. Increasing the levels of afforestation will play a significant role in meeting our climate change targets. However we must ensure that the right tree, in the right place, for the right reason, is our way forward. Project Woodland which was launched last week will play a major role in ensuring our areas of woodland increase sustainably in the future.”
The meeting concluded with both Ministers thanking VP Timmermans for his engagement and a commitment to continue their dialogue with the European Commission as Ireland develops the next CAP Strategic plan and next National Forestry Programme.