The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) has three key requests as part of its stance on the Climate Action Bill that is currently making its way through the Oireachtas, according to IFA National Environment Committee chairman Paul O’Brien.

Speaking to Agriland last week, on Wednesday (June 2), the chairman highlighted his organisation’s concerns and views in relation to the incoming bill and climate action targets.

Highlighting that agriculture is “the only show in town” when it comes to the ability to sequester carbon, O’Brien outlined the IFA’s three key asks being sought at present.

First off, he said the IFA is seeking for the recognition of carbon removals to be included in carbon budgets. Once data has been quantified and proven for the carbon sequestering ability of farms, this should be attributed back to agriculture, he stressed.

“The second is the role that biogenic methane needs to be counted differently [to other greenhouse gases],” he said.

The chairman highlighted the relatively short lifespan of methane in the atmosphere.

“Going back to 1990 figures, there were more cattle in the national herd – there were seven million cattle on Irish farms at that stage. We’re now under seven million cattle and the cattle are now being farmed in a more efficient manner,” the IFA chairman highlighted.

Continuing, O’Brien said: “The third thing that we’re looking for is that, under Article 2 of the Paris Climate Agreement, regions or areas that can show sustainable agricultural production should not be penalised where countries that are less efficient at producing food would be able to fill a void as a result of higher ambition within a member state or country that is reducing its emissions.

“In other words should Irish farmers be penalised in this race to decarbonise and other countries that don’t have the ability – i.e. the Mercosur countries – should they then fill the void?”

Agriculture “should not be seen as a silver bullet” to let other industries off the hook, the environment chairman stressed.