Farmers are not receiving fair treatment in how methane is accounted for, or in relation to the carbon sequestered on farms, according to the Carbon Removals Action Group (CRAG).

The group was founded in 2019 by Limerick dairy farmer John Hourigan and Nadaline Webster, a consultant in the legal technology sector.

The pair recently addressed the Oireachtas Agriculture committee, along with globally recognised methane expert, Oxford academic and IPCC member, Professor Myles Allen.

Flawed

A public meeting held by the group in the Ballykisteen Hotel in Tipperary last Friday drew people from as far afield as Wexford. CRAG contends that the current method for accounting methane emissions is flawed.

“The GWP100 (which counts each methane molecule having a legacy of 100 years) counts the methane emitted by livestock as permanant and cumulative,” Hourigan said.

“This doesn’t accurately reflect the warming impact, or more correctly the lack of a waming impact, of a stable global livestock herd.”

Compensation

That being the case, Hourigan believes that if farmers are asked or required to reduce the size of the national herd, it would be to help offset the warming effect of fossil fuel use. He believes they should therefore be compensated for such actions.

Hourigan says he has been fighting the case for farmers to have ownership of the carbon sequestration of their forestry land.

He himself has established voluntary carbon credits for his own forestry land.

“I own the timber, the timber traps the carbon, so it’s only logical that I own any rights associated with that sequestered carbon,” Hourigan said.

“We have been approached by groups from all over the country to hold meetings in their area to explain the issue and our objectives.

“We plan to hold some further meetings later this year to meet this demand,” he concluded.