Hopes for carbon calculators to pay farmers for carbon sequestration


Farmers are demanding a system to accurately calculate how much carbon their land and forests absorb.

The Department of Agriculture has set up a Carbon Farming Working Group, which is in the early stages of developing a scheme that could pay farmers to sequester carbon. An increasing focus is on the ability of agricultural land to sequester carbon, with the government committing to developing a carbon farming initiative as part of the Climate Action Plan.

The lack of an official regulatory system for calculating CO2 has been a sore point for many farmers, especially as the sector faces increasing environmental demands. In particular, the inability to calculate the carbon sequestered by the six million kilometers of hedgerows on Irish farmland has infuriated many farmers.

Initially composed of parastatal and state ministries, the Carbon Farming Group will be dedicated to promoting emission reductions while developing a potential alternative income stream for landowners and foresters.

A spokesman for the Ministry of the Environment said Independent Farming that the system could work similar to the Woodland Environment Fund (WEF), where companies receive €1,000/ha for starting a forestry business with a landowner.

The spokesman pointed out that this “involves a mix of private funding and government funding to pay farmers to establish native forests. The WEF demonstrates a willingness to address broader societal issues in Ireland related to biodiversity, water quality, climate change mitigation and health and well-being.”

Carbon cultivation and sequestration are also under serious scrutiny by the European Commission, which is working on a legal framework for certifying carbon removal. The aim is to have this certification system by the end of the year.

“In the meantime, they intend to set up an expert group of forest, agriculture and environmental specialists to advise on plans for the new framework. The expert group will be launched in the second quarter of 2022, where Member State authorities and stakeholders will be able to exchange best practices on carbon farming and share experiences,” the spokesperson said.

This expert group will give Ireland, along with other Member States, the opportunity to voice their views and farmers will hope it will include a framework to reward them for carbon sequestration. Hopes for carbon calculators to pay farmers for carbon sequestration

Fry Electronics Team

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