The Explainer x Noteworthy: What is the issue with farm subsidies and nature?

Noteworthy’s Niall Sargent and journalist Ella McSweeney tell Susan Daly how agri-subsidies are encouraging farmers to cut back on nature.

By Laura Byrne Assistant News Editor

MUCH LIKE THE rest of our European neighbours, Ireland is facing the twin crises of climate change and the decline of the natural world. 

Unlike most other EU countries, however, our agricultural sector accounts for the largest chunk of our carbon emissions – almost 35% of all annual emissions – and our farms also have a significant impact on our water, air and soil quality, as well as various species. 

Despite the hope that supports through the EU’s farm subsidy model would act as a powerful tool to address the biodiversity and climate crises, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has instead been blamed for pushing farmers into a more intensified farming system where nature and climate play second fiddle to food production. 

This week, as a bonus episode of The Explainer brought to you by our investigative platform NoteworthySusan Daly chats with journalist Ella McSweeney and reporter Niall Sargent about their recent CASH COW investigation to piece together the roadblocks stopping farmers from creating more nature and climate-friendly farms. 


This episode was put together by Susan Daly, Niall Sargent and producer Laura Byrne.

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