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‘Mission Impossible?’

Proposed Climate Bill: ‘Mission Impossible’ for Northern Ireland farmers?

Chairman of the Climate Change Committee, Lord Deben, has concluded that NI will face a near insurmountable task to achieve net zero carbon emission targets by 2050.

Lord Deben made his comments at the Institute of Directors’ inaugural Energy Symposium. He issued this stark warning about NI’s prospects of reaching net zero if the proposed Climate Bill becomes law:

“Northern Ireland has a real issue of emissions without the ease of sequestration which some other parts of the United Kingdom have. If you take the Scots for example, they do have a very important agriculture industry and mechanisms for sequestration which do not apply in Northern Ireland,”

“We are therefore asking the Scots to get to net zero by 2045, the rest of the UK as far as England and Wales is concerned will be asked to reach net zero by 2050.

We don’t believe the north of Ireland can actually do that,”

Lord Deben – Chair of the ‘Climate Change Committee’

NI’s over reliance on the agri-food industry, has resulted in the farming sector contributing 27% of their total green house gas emissions.

NI agri sector response

Lord Deben’s comments follow the recent publication of an Ulster Farmers’ Union report, which analysed the economic impact of achieving net zero emissions by 2045.

The UFU’s report concluded that attempting to achieve these targets inline with the other UK regions could spell ‘ruination’ for the sector. The economic impact could mean industry job losses of 13,000 and a reduction of £11bn in economic output.

The UFU concluded that the required 86% reduction in livestock numbers would effectively result in ‘wiping out traditional grass-based farms’.

The Dairy Council for Northern Ireland also voiced their grave concerns. They predict that the NI’s ‘highly successful’ dairy sector would be reduced to a ‘cottage industry‘ if the climate bill was passed.

The body concluded that the proposed bill could take the industry back to levels of milk production last seen in 1946′.

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