Methane produced by livestock will be given special status in the climate action bill put before the Dáil on Tuesday, the Irish Farmers Journal understands.

However farmers and the wider agricultural industry will be limited by carbon budgets and ceilings set for greenhouse gas emissions.

The Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill, being brought to cabinet by Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan, is aimed at achieving a carbon neutral economy by 2050.

Carbon budgets and an emissions ceiling will be set for each sector of the economy, including agriculture.

Each sector will also be obliged to produce an annual climate action plan and a longer-term strategy.


Last year’s programme for government agreed between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party included a pledge to take account of the unique position that Irish agriculture holds in the economy.

This pledge has been reiterated in the climate bill today. The Irish Farmers Journal understands that the document sets out that the Climate Change Advisory Council will take into account "relevant scientific advice, including with regard to the distinct characteristics of biogenic methane" and "international best practice on the reporting of greenhouse gas emissions and removal".

The bill also emphasises the importance of maximising employment, keeping Ireland attractive for investment and ensuring the long-term competitiveness of the economy.

Carbon budget

The Government will set a national five-year carbon budget, with a greenhouse gas emissions ceiling for that period. The first five-year budget will cover the years 2021- 2025, it is understood.

The Climate Change Advisory Council will have three ex-officio members – the directors of the EPA, Teagasc and Met Éireann.

Special status

There had been fears amongst the agriculture sector that the programme for government agreement to treat biogenic methane, produced by livestock, differently would be reneged on.

The Irish Farmers Journal understands that there was immense pressure from lobby groups and within the Green Party to strip away the special status for agriculture in the bill but that Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue was at pains to highlight the importance of protecting farm families and the rural economy.