The Climate Action Bill presented to Cabinet on Tuesday will acknowledge the distinct characteristics of biogenic methane, that is methane from livestock, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has said.
The bill will enshrine a 2050 emissions reduction target into law and is due to be published this week.
It will set individual emission reduction targets for each sector, including agriculture, as part of a Government ambition to reduce emissions by an average of 7% from 2021 to 2030.
The legislation “is consistent” with the commitments given to the “particularities of methane” in the programme for government, Minister McConalogue told the joint Oireacthas agriculture committee.
The programme for government document states: “The special economic and social role of agriculture and the distinct characteristics of biogenic methane as described by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will be fully recognised in plans to achieve these targets.”
The Irish Farmers Journal revealed last week that biogenic methane would be be considered differently under the bill.
Cows emit methane through their digestive processes, such as belching, and the agriculture sector has repeatedly lobbied for methane from agriculture to be treated differently as it breaks down more quickly in the environment.
It is the Government’s intention to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. This will be monitored by a series of legally binding five-year carbon budgets for each sector.
It is not known yet what the emissions targets under farming will be, but Teagasc's Marginal Abatement Cost Curve (MACC) is expected to be the main tool to base the agriculture carbon budget on.