‘Real frustration’ that farmers ‘get no credit for carbon sequestering on farms’

While meeting the targets will be a challenge, farmers are ready to play their part, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

Reacting to the publication of the government’s Climate Action (Amendment) Bill, IFA President Tim Cullinan said:

“Farmers are already doing a lot and the sector has a roadmap set out as part of the Teagasc MAC Curve.

“With the right supports and incentives, farmers can continue to play our part in the national effort by improving the carbon efficiency of our output,” he said.

However, one of the real frustrations for farmers is that they are getting no credit for the carbon they are sequestering on their farms.

“We need to look at the net carbon position on farms that takes into account carbon offset as well as carbon emitted,” he said.

He pointed to a report published today (Wednesday, October 7) in New Zealand as evidence of what is being measured in a country with a similar demographic and farming profile to Ireland.

According to the IFA, the report shows that New Zealand farms are “offsetting substantial amounts of the carbon they are producing”.

This, the IFA says, demonstrates what farmers in Ireland can do – if they are supported to adopt enhanced emission efficiency measures and are credited for the carbon they are already sequestering in hedgerows.

Cullinan welcomed the acknowledgement in the bill of the cyclical nature of methane in greenhouse gas emissions accounting methodology.

“It is positive to see this being acknowledged, but we need the inventory calculations to be changed to reflect this.”

Continuing, the president said:

It is very frustrating to see widespread scientific acknowledgement of the need to change the calculation system but at the same time we are told the system can’t be changed until 2030.

“This makes no sense,” Cullinan concluded.