Carbon farming is much talked about but little progress is being made despite comments last June by Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan that farmers would be paid for storing carbon.
However, the progress is slow and it is unclear how farmers will be paid to store carbon. The Climate Action Plan published last week states it will explore the development of a carbon farming model and enable a carbon farming framework by the end of 2023 in line with EU activity.
This is similar to what was published in Ag Climatise almost one year ago, despite comments in June of this year by Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan stating that farmers will be paid to store carbon.
One positive in the plan is the mention of “the development of voluntary carbon codes, leveraging of private financing through public/private partnerships, and the putting in place of governance structures” to facilitate reward for carbon farming.
Carbon price holds steady
In the meantime, the price of carbon credits on the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) futures market has started to rise again.
On 10 November, the price of 1t of carbon was €63.16/t.
This is down significantly from 29 September, when the price hit €75.56/t. However, it is significantly higher than the price at the beginning of the year. On 4 January, the price of 1t of carbon was €33.69/t.
It rose steadily up to May 14 when it hit €56.65/t. Since that time the price has been on the rise but with ups and downs along the way. While it went to €75.56/t in September, it also dropped to €54.55 on 19 October.
Purchasing one credit on the EU ETS allows the holder to emit 1t of carbon dioxide or the equivalent of two more powerful gases, which are named as nitrous oxide and perfluorocarbons.
Sellers of carbon credits have to prove how they have sequestered carbon whether that be through carbon sequestration in forestry or increasing soil carbon storage.
There is potential for those able to store carbon to develop another income stream by improving carbon storage.
It is not clear whether Irish farmers can do this at present as carbon removals from agriculture are being used to offset emissions nationally.