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A chara,- it is not unusual for a lobby group to commission an "independent" report which only asks the questions they want asked and conveniently ignores other far more pertinent questions. The KPMG report commissioned by the Irish Farmer's Journal is a classic of the genre, as is Professor Alan Matthew's deconstruction of it: (Opinion, 1st. November).

In summary, he notes that the report only quantifies the production and employment effects of particular emissions reduction scenarios and and doesn't ask how agriculture might achieve these emissions reductions with minimum impacts on the level of output and income.

The report assumes that farmers will remain totally passive in response to the projected reductions in output and that prices would be unaffected. He notes that fewer cattle and less milk produced would mean meat factories and dairies competing for more limited supplies and thus higher prices for farmers, which would offset some of the loss in income it foresees.

The report assumes that farmers will not seek opportunities in forestry, bioenergy, organic production, or alternative enterprises if ruminant agriculture is reduced, and ignores the co-benefits of reducing biodiversity loss, deteriorating water quality, and ammonia emissions.

Farmers are well aware of the damage these emissions cause, but it is someone else's problem. To solve the emissions problem, the cost of these emissions, as well as the benefits of reducing them, need to be factored into each farmer's financial planning.

The report overlooks is the fact that putting a proper incentive scheme in place at farm level would unleash a wave of innovation as farmers, coops, input suppliers and the research establishment see the benefits of focusing on emissions reduction, where today there is no benefit to taking action,

The report assumes taxpayers will be happy to fund the  purchase of greenhouse gas allowances from other EU countries to bring ourselves into compliance with our emissions targets using funds that could be better targetted at reducing emissions in the first place!

Allowing special interests to avoid essential and urgent climate actions through false pleading, utter complacency, and displacing the costs of inaction onto others is no longer an option. The KPMG report should be shelved immediately and Professor Mathews recommendations implemented.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Nov 1st, 2021 at 11:41:37 AM EST

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