Tuesday, 15 November 2016
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
622. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine if he will investigate the feasibility and potential benefits of implementing a system by which a private company may purchase carbon credits from private forestry owners for the purpose of reducing their carbon credit rating; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34497/16]
Under the European Commission’s LULUCF proposal (COM 479) flexibility to use credits from the land use, land-use change and forestry is envisaged to meet Member State’s compliance targets under the proposed Effort Sharing Regulation for the period 2021-2030. This use would apply at national level. There is no proposal to extend the use of LULUCF credits for compliance by individual companies who fall within the scope of the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). In order for such use to occur it would require agreement at EU level to change and extend the current proposals. At individual forest level it would entail considerable measurement and monitoring of forest carbon stocks over an extended period of several decades, including the need to track levels of harvest and account for emissions associated with these removals. At present carbon stock change estimates for the forest sector are based on national data sources including the sample-based National Forest Inventory.
My Department therefore does not envisage the introduction of such a scheme as that described by the Deputy for individual companies falling within the ETS. The UK Woodland Carbon Code for example is one such scheme that my Department has been examining. This model provides a mechanism whereby industry can invest in the creation of new forests and be associated with the climate mitigation benefits this delivers. The Department will continue to look at the possibilities that might exist in this area.