The IFA President, Tim Cullinan, has welcomed the decision at committee stage in the Seanad to accept two amendments to the Climate Action Bill, which he says give full recongnition for carbon removals on farms.
“IFA has been lobbying intensively for three amendments to the Bill. Despite strong engagement, we were disappointed that the Minister accepted no amendments in the Dáil,” he said.
“We then took our campaign to the Seanad. In fairness to Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil Senators, amendments were put down and followed up, which have now been accepted by the Government”.
The IFA President said there were still issues surrounding the Bill, however.
“There are still serious issues, particularly around the ‘distinct characteristics’ of biogenic methane, along with the need to avoid any international carbon leakage arising from the implementation of the Bill,” he said.
Meanwhile, Fine Gael Senator Aisling Dolan said the legislation would enable Ireland to create a “climate resilient economy”.
“I’d like to thank Minister Eamon Ryan for accepting this amendment on carbon removals and this section was passed by the Seanad. This means the definition of ‘carbon budget’ is now accepted in the legislation to include the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions minus carbon removals to be included as part of the calculation of carbon emissions.
“The Minister spoke about how this provides real opportunity and that agriculture is not the most difficult sector to bring about climate action and how action also needs to be taken on our transport systems.
“This legislation paves the way for Ireland to do its part to reach a climate resilient economy,” she said.
Fianna Fáil Senator Eugene Murphy also welcomed the Minister’s decision.
“I welcome the comments of Minister Ryan, where he clearly stated that the ‘shaming and blaming of farmers must stop’ in relation to climate change. The Minister also stated in last Friday’s debate that that the ‘agriculture sector would not be the most difficult sector to change’.
“I thank the farmers in the Roscommon Galway region for engaging with me on these issues. I also thank the farming community for trusting me to fight for the cause of agriculture, and I think this Government is determined to work with the farming community, not against them.
“The Government has a lot more to achieve on this issue and must do so in cooperation with the farming community,” concluded Senator Murphy.