Thursday, 3 June 2021
Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment
Climate Change Policy
221. To ask the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment the sector to which the carbon credits gained as a result of the rewetting of bogs and management of peatlands will be attributed; when this decision will be made; the reasoning that will be used to reach this decision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30338/21]
Peatlands are considered Managed Wetlands and are currently reported in Ireland’s national greenhouse gas emission inventory submissions to the EU and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry Regulation (LULUCF) requires each Member State to ensure that accounted CO₂ emissions from land use are entirely compensated by an equivalent removal of CO₂ from the atmosphere through action in the LULUCF sector. This commitment is referred to as the ‘no debit rule’. For example, if a Member State converts forests to other land uses (deforestation), it must compensate for the resulting emissions by planting new forest (afforestation) or by improving the sustainable management of existing forest, croplands, grasslands or wetlands. In this way the ‘no-debit’ commitment incentivises Member States to take actions that increase the absorption of CO₂ in agricultural soils, forests and re-wetting organic soils. The current Climate Action Plan identifies several measures for Ireland to achieve a 26.8Mt CO2eq of abatement over the period 2021-2030 which includes the re-wetting of bogs and better management of peatlands. However, it important to note that there are also activities that could prevent these removals from being realised.
The Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill 2021, when enacted, will introduce a number of new obligations to help ensure good governance in respect of climate action. The Climate Change Advisory Council will propose a programme of three successive 5-year carbon budgets in a carbon budget programme. Once these economy-wide budgets are approved, I will prepare sectoral emissions ceilings taking into account how land-use emissions are treated, for each relevant sector in consultation with other Ministers. These sectoral emissions ceilings must also be approved by the Government.