An Taisce calls for Irish Leadership on Climate and Biodiversity Emergency in EU/MERCOSUR Trade Negotiations

15th July 2019
Press Release

An Taisce has written to the Irish Government urging that Ireland should take a leadership role in the EU negotiations with the MERCOSUR South American Trade bloc comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, to ensure that any final deal be conditional on effective, shared, Climate Action and reversal of biodiversity loss.

An Taisce advocates that, in Ireland’s engagement with our EU partners, continuation of the negotiations should be conditional on clear and verifiable commitment to implementation of:

  • The Paris Agreement on Climate 2015
  • The UN Biodiversity Convention
  • The UN Sustainable Development Goals

The Irish Government response to the MERCOSUR negotiations has to date focused on the economic impacts on different sectors, and the trade off in allowing additional beef imports to the EU, while at the same time opening up Irish dairy exports to South America [1].

In An Taisce’s view, economic assessment on the pros and cons for individual trading sectors should be a secondary consideration to the overarching considerations of environmental sustainability and climate stability.

Accordingly An Taisce advocates that two preliminary, overriding, principles should be applied:

  • To support the position of President Macron that any progress on an EU-Mercosur deal should be conditional on Brazil, the largest emitter of the four Mercosur states, remaining within, and demonstrating good faith commitment to, the Paris Agreement.
  • The exclusion of the export of beef, maize, soya and other relevant crops until internationally-validated measures to reverse Amazonian forest degradation and biodiversity loss are put in place.

The position taken by the Irish Farmers Association in relation to excluding Brazilian beef import is to be supported, in view of the land use and biodiversity impact. The same applies to address the concern raised by the Irish Grain Growers Association, in excluding exclude maize, soya and other relevant crop imports.

This month has seen the publication of a major investigative report on the Amazon by Repórter Brasil and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism [2]. Commenting, An Taisce Advocacy Officer Ian Lumley stated:

“As we face a converging planetary Climate and Biodiversity emergency the future of the Amazonian forest needs to be a concern for all of us: and this should be clearly and transparently stated by the Irish Government.”

CONTACT Ian Lumley, An Taisce Advocacy Officer

Mobile: 083 153 2384

NOTES [1] https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/ireland-may-vote-against-eu-and-south-american-trade-deal-1.3942315

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jul/02/revealed-amazon-deforestation-driven-global-greed-meat-brazil?CMP=share_btn_link

ENDS