Farmers should be awarded carbon credits rather than penalised

  • Database of planting already in existence
  • Would help meet climate goals


Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe is calling for farmers to be rewarded with carbon credits based on the level of planting on their land, rather than operating a system of penalisation.

Deputy Crowe wants to see farmers incentivised to have areas of their land planted with native trees, in an effort to help Ireland reach its climate targets, as part of the ongoing negotiations on the Common Agricultural Policy.

“Speaking at the public consultation meeting relating to the CAP review in Ennis Mart, I asked Minister Charlie McConalogue to ensure that, as negotiations on CAP deepen, farmers in Clare and throughout Ireland who have trees growing on their property should be awarded carbon credits for the sequestration that these trees provide,” said Deputy Crowe.

“Some farmers would have large parts of their land planted while others may just have hedgerows incorporating native species like ash, beech and oak.

“Regardless of what quantity of trees they have growing on their property, the Department of Agriculture and EU Commission on Agriculture have thorough data of the extent of planting on each landholding.

“Digitised maps and aerial imagery, which are used to determine the extent of one’s Single Farm Payment, provide a lot of detail in terms of hedgerow and tree plantations.

“This information is available to both the department and commission in percentage terms of the overall landholding and I think that percentage should be used to provide each farmer with a carbon credit.

“This year, government is preparing its first ever carbon budget and whilst each sector will be impacted by this, I think insofar as farmers are concerned, we need to take a more carrot, less stick approach.

“For centuries, farmers have been custodians of the landscape and most are practitioners of environmental farming.

“I have also spoken with Minister McConalogue about opportunities such as solar panels on the roofs of farm sheds, which farmers could be incentivised to provide.

“I hope that the government and the EU can look at ways of carbon crediting farmers, as opposed to penalising them.”