EU plan to limit methane emissions opposed by most countries
Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly said ammonia goals proposed for Ireland would be challenging
The IFA, like other farming lobbies, is strongly opposed to methane limits
A majority of EU countries want to drop a plan to introduce methane emission limits, a move strongly opposed by farming lobbies, including the Irish Farmers’ Association.
But proposed stricter limits on ammonia emissions, which are also caused by agriculture, remain on the table.
Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly told a meeting of his EU counterparts this week that the ammonia goals proposed for Ireland would be challenging given plans to increase production in the agri-food sector.
Ireland is already on track to miss an EU greenhouse gas reduction target for 2020 due to increasing emissions from agriculture. Under its Food Harvest 2020 plan, the government wants to greatly increase agricultural output, including a 50 per cent rise in milk production to capitalise on the ending of EU milk quotas earlier this year.
The directive currently sets annual limits up to 2019 for four pollutants: sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and ammonia. It is up to member states to establish policies to comply.
Ireland is already having trouble complying. It breached the limits for NOx and VOCs every year over 2010-13, the European Environment Agency reported last week. In Ireland, VOCs are mostly caused by manure management in agriculture and the main source of NOx is road transport.