The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has said it is was very concerned about the way the Climate Action Bill is progressing through the Oireachtas.

President of the association, Tim Cullinan said: “Last week, Minister [for the Environment, Climate and Communications] Eamon Ryan accepted two amendments to the climate bill in the Seanad.

“Now we find, at the eleventh hour, Ministers Ryan and [agriculture minister Charlie] McConalogue are coming forward with their own amendments to account for carbon removal,” he said.

IFA president Tim Cullinan
IFA Preisdent Tim Cullinan

The farm leader said that while this proposed government amendment has not yet been published, the IFA understands that it will enable the government to take carbon removals into account, but won’t specify how it will be done.

“Therefore, we need a clear commitment from the government that they will take removals into account, and clarity on how they will account for them,” he said.

Speed of legislation

The farm association president added that while it welcomes the government’s new focus on carbon removals at the Seanad stage, it has only served to “heighten our concerns about the way this bill was rammed through the Dáil in the first place”.

“The government should take more time to scrutinise the bill and stop this headlong rush to have it on the statute book before the summer recess,” Cullinan added.

“This is one of the most important pieces of legislation in the history of the state. It could have untold consequences for the economy and the environment, and here we have the government carrying out running repairs after the bill has gone through the Dáil,” he said.

Carbon credits in Climate Action Bill

Last week, Minister Eamon Ryan said in the Seanad that he intended to accept two amendments to the climate bill that would allow recognition for carbon removals as part of sectoral targets and carbon budgets.

Over 200 amendments to the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill 2021 have been proposed, with the minister rejecting the vast majority.

Senator Tim Lombard and senator Paul Daly had brought forward two of the amendments, giving recognition to the idea of carbon sequestration.

However today (Friday, June 9), Minister Ryan has put forward his own amendments in the Seanad relating to reduction of emissions per sector, which are currently being discussed.

Stay tuned to Agriland for details as they emerge.