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SOCIAL BOOKMARKS

Warning that climate change will become next water charges

Ireland needs to end the "current obsession" with the beef and dairy sector, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has said.

Mr Ryan has also warned that climate change will become the next water charges debacle if agreement cannot be reached on how we tackle the issue.

A cross-party report on climate action was due to be published by the Oireachtas Committee on Climate Change tomorrow, however committee members had failed to reach a consensus and entered private talks this afternoon.

The Committee have now gone into public session, where the contentious issue of carbon taxes is being discussed.

Speaking before going into the meeting, Mr Ryan said there is broad agreement "to varying degrees" on increasing carbon tax incrementality to 2030 total to at least €80 a tonne but last-minute concerns had been raised around ensuring that there is a mechanism around protecting people from fuel poverty.

Mr Ryan said:

Our own view is that we should give it back as a dividend, Fianna Fáil and Labour believe that it should be hypothecated.

"What we have agreed as a committee is that we are going to have to do further work on that, we are not going to come to a conclusion this afternoon, or tomorrow afternoon.

"We need to do another four or five months of work to look at the options. More than anything else, we need to avoid the water charges scenario."

Turning to agriculture, which is a significant carbon producer, he said: "We will need fewer cows and less livestock, in my mind we won't continue with the current obsession with a beef industry and a dairy industry that for most farmers is not working.

"The new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is going to change Irish farming, it's going to be green. It's about paying farmers for looking after nature, for improving water quality, for providing better access and switching to a much more diverse agricultural system that's not just at the behest of the large retailers and the large processors and the large multinational companies," said Mr Ryan.