Climate Action

Carbon Farming Proposals Unlikely to Generate Significant Income

IFA President Tim Cullinan said that the EU Commission’s proposal on so-called ‘carbon farming’ which was published today is unlikely to provide a framework that will generate any significant extra income for Irish farmers.

“While it’s early days, it appears there will not be any serious income-generating capacity from the Commission proposal, unless a farmer has a considerable land bank,” he said. 

Tim Cullinan said the EU Commission proposal was flawed in that it gives no recognition to carbon already stored on farms.

“Farms that have sequestered increased carbon over the years through hedgerows or other methods will get no credit for maintaining these, and continuing to store carbon. The Commission’s plan is to acknowledge only carbon removed each year,” he said.

“This document is very much a framework one, with lots of detail yet to be fleshed out. But it is clear that all the carbon built up on farms over the years is going to be ignored. This is wrong,” he said.

“Under the proposed framework there is no reward for reducing emissions on farm, it is extremely disappointing that the huge efforts farmers are currently undertaking in this area will not be recognised. Acknowledgement will only be given for removals through sequestration,” he said.

“It is also important that the EU gives a clear commitment that any European or national funding to incentivise carbon removals will come from a new budget line, rather than from the Common Agricultural Policy,” he said.

The IFA President said the process of certification could involve the gathering of very sensitive information. “There will need to be very strong safeguards in place around all this data,” he said.

“Overall, the so called ‘carbon farming’ model proposed by the Commission needs a lot more fleshing out before a full assessment can be made. However, our initial view is that it is very disappointing and more likely to be a ‘white elephant’ than a future ‘cash cow’ as presented by Minister Ryan and others,” he said.