ECONOMY

Greenhouse Gas tax on agriculture not ruled out

Greenhouse Gas tax on agriculture not ruled out



A tax on Greenhouse Gas emissions from agriculture have not been ruled out completely, despite not being one of the main recommendations of the Climate Action Group report.

Final submissions to the report were submitted last week and it’s understood that no significant changes will be made to the agricultural section of the draft report.

However, while a tax on Greenhouse Gas emissions is not one of the key recommendations of the report, it’s understood that it has not been ruled out completely.

Such a tax was recommended by the Citizen’s Assembly, which said there should be rewards for farmers who use their land for carbon sequestration. But it’s understood that while the Citizen’s Assembly proposed the idea, the detail to implement such a tax needs further analysis.

One committee member said the proposal that the Citizens Assembly put forward in agriculture was not very specific about what tax they are talking about.

“The citizens assembly came up with a brave recommendation but did not go into the details.  So we want to look at that and further research.”

The committee is set to meet today to discuss new submissions, while it will sit in public session on Wednesday and Thursday to vote on any new amendments.

Ireland has agreed a reduction of 30pc by 2030 in its emissions or it faces fines of €6-7m a year.

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The agricultural sector, as Ireland’s largest industry, remains the largest emitter of GHGs.  It is also  understood the Committee will state that it recognises that Ireland cannot meet its international emissions targets without tackling agricultural sector emissions.

The main recommendations of the draft report call for the full implementation of Teagasc proposals to cut emissions from the sector.

In total, the state agency identified twenty-eight measures which, if implemented could deliver up to 17.2 mtCO2 equivalent emissions savings between 2021 and 2030, representing a substantial contribution to meeting our 2030 emissions targets. 

Its proposals include changes to the types of fertiliser used on farms, improved genetics of farm animals and low emission slurry spreading.

Teagasc have also said that wood biomass and anaerobic digestion of animal manures to produce biogas offers an opportunity for fossil fuel displacement.

IFA President Joe Healy has backed the Teagasc plan and said the Committee should recommend its full implementation. 

He said this represents a ‘climate just’ way forward, rather than imposing taxes or restrictions on Ireland’s carbon efficient model of food production.

“Ireland has a carbon efficient model of food production, with the European Commission confirming that dairy farmers have the lowest carbon footprint for milk and our beef farmers are amongst the five most carbon-efficient in the EU,” Healy claimed.

He said the Teagasc climate roadmap represents a clear strategy for kick-starting a vibrant farm scale and community-based renewables sector and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the sector. 

IFA Environment Chairman Thomas Cooney added “Agriculture deserves to have a fairer representation of its climate actions. For example, our carbon sinks from Ireland’s permanent pastures, hedgerows and forestry have to be included when it comes to climate change and agriculture.

“Farmers are engaged in climate action. From a carbon efficiency perspective, we are best in class. We expect the Oireachtas Climate Committee to take full account of the potential economic and social impact on farm families and the wider rural economy.”

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