Matt Carthy has called for a farm-by-farm assessment of carbon storage and emissions in order to properly calculate the sequestration potential held by individual farmers.

The Cavan-Monaghan TD and former MEP was speaking following a briefing hosted by the Irish Farmers Journal on Thursday which examined the KPMG economic impact assessment report on the potential carbon emission reduction targets for Irish agriculture.

Failure in Brussels

Carthy expressed frustration with what he described as a failure by Government to secure Ireland’s fair share of economic support and CAP funding from Europe.

“Across the board, farmers are being robbed through Government’s failure to negotiate a proper CAP.”

He said Government must first recognise that we have “more going into the EU than we’re getting back”, accept this failure and be honest with rural Ireland.

Economic assessment

Deputy Carthy said that any decisions made on carbon emissions targets for agriculture should only follow full economic assessment of their potential impact and that Government must put in place measures and resources to support farmers in advance, not afterwards.

He described Government’s habit of first allowing impact and then introducing mitigation measures as unacceptable and said that the order of these must be turned around.

Sequestration potential

On the climate measures already ongoing on Irish farms, he said: “First we need to carry out a farm-by-farm assessment of carbon storage and emissions in order to have a proper calculation of sequestration potential and farmers will then have to be financially rewarded for this.”

He said that Ireland “shouldn’t get sidelined into a silly debate on reducing the cattle herd” before this proper calculation of sequestration to date and future potential.

The Sinn Féin TD said reducing emissions “is a huge challenge and one which we cannot shirk” but that a different approach is needed.

Concluding, he described the “complete hypocrisy” of the coalition for supporting the Mercosur trade agreement in Brussels while simultaneously touting herd reduction here and branded the position as “bizarre”.

Full analysis of the Climate Change Advisory Council’s carbon budgets and detail on our KPMG economic impact assessment report are available in this week’s Irish Farmers Journal.

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In full: the KPMG economic impact report on cutting emissions on farming