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Same number of animals on planet but emissions have ‘dropped through the floor’

A farm leader has called for the next Government to review the way in which emissions are calculated and accounted for.

IFA president, Tim Cullinan, said this must be undertaken before “rushing headlong into environmental flag waving while ignoring scientific developments.”.

He acknowledged the recognition in the response from FF/FG to the Green Party that biogenic methane must be treated differently.

“However, farmers must also be given credit for sequestration and the new Climate Bill has to factor in the latest Teagasc research, which shows that Nitrous Oxide emissions from farming are being overcounted,” he said.

Lessons from Covid-19 crisis

In addition, he said there are “huge” lessons to be learned from the COVID-19 crisis.

“There are still the same number of animals on our planet, but emissions have dropped through the floor.” 

“The environmental credentials of our dairy and beef sectors are well-established. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael cannot allow the Green Party tail to wag the dog.”

Reduction in cattle numbers ‘very damaging’

Cullinan stated that farmers are ready to step up and embrace policies that put them at the centre of climate action.

“We must look at net emissions from agriculture that takes into account the carbon farmers are currently sequestering and new learnings on methane.”

“Any reduction in cattle numbers would be very damaging to the rural economy at a time when we are looking to move on from the impact of COVID-19,” he added.


The IFA president said the two main parties that are looking to form the next Government should keep the focus on a coherent renewables policy.

He added that farmers were “enthusiastic” about getting involved in renewables, but Government action to date on farm-scale renewables had been “very practically non-existent”.

The farm lobby group said it was in regular contact with the party leaders in follow up on its submissions and to ensure that full recognition must be given to the role of agriculture in all facets of any programme for Government.

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