A campaign to recognise farmer ownership of carbon sequestration rights will be officially launched next week.
The Carbon Removals Action Group (CRAG) will be formally established at a meeting in Hayes Hotel, Thurles, Co Tipperary on Sunday October 17.
The group has warned that it will legally challenge the imposition by Government of sectoral ceilings for carbon emissions from agriculture.
It also aims to set up a system of trading farming-related and forestry-related carbon credits.
CRAG is backed by a number of farmers, legal experts and foresters, including Limerick farmer John Hourigan, who earlier this year confirmed that he had leased the carbon credits from 100ac of forestry for €9,000 per annum.
Others involved in CRAG include the well-known agricultural adviser Oliver Ryan-Purcell, farmer representative David Thompson, and farmer Dickie Power.
CRAG accused the Government of attempting to “strangle” Irish agriculture by imposing the Climate Bill without taking account of carbon removals by farming.
“They tell us the science isn’t there to quantify carbon removals by agriculture, that it’s too difficult, its 10 years away. If it is too difficult to assess removals, then it should be equally difficult to assess emissions,” Hourigan said.
“The reality is that Irish farming is a huge carbon sink. In fact, it is our only carbon sink,” he added.
“We must be in a position to get a court injunction to prevent any imposition of ‘sectoral responsibility’ until agriculture’s emissions and removals are properly accounted for,” Hourigan insisted.
“If we accept the principle that those who emit CO2 are penalised financially, then likewise we must accept that those who remove it are rewarded,” he maintained.
CRAG also aims to: