Wednesday, 18 December 2019
Climate Action and Low Carbon Development: Statements
The EPA does that as well. It does the evaluation. It calculates the emissions from agriculture that arise from methane, nitrogen, oxides, urea and so on. It calculates the whole lot. Teagasc has done an estimate of how we can start to reduce those emissions.
The question of land use and forestry is much more complicated. I am happy to make an official available to talk to Deputies. As I understand it, in our inventories we do not have an accurate assessment of how land use is sequestering or releasing carbon. The manner in which carbon is released depends on how land is ploughed and on how a lot of things are done. We do not do a detailed inventory. We do not track every acre of land to see what happened this year compared with last year. We do not track how carbon is emitted depending on the way harvesting is done in a given year. That is not done. We do not count every tree and estimate the carbon sequestration that it might give. We do not track the loss of carbon from the draining of bogs. We do not do that level of inventory analysis. It is very difficult to do. The science is imperfect.
As I understand it, a credit of 26.8 million tonnes of carbon was granted to Ireland in reference to our historic planting levels. Part of that has to be earned over the next ten years. I think approximately 4 million tonnes of the total of 26.8 million tonnes will have to be earned. We will have to show that changes are being made and that we are delivering the credit. We will have to make enough changes to justify the assignment of the credit to us. My understanding is that the credit is not as accurate a science as the rest of the inventory. I will be happy to get people to talk to the Deputy.