March 16, 2012
ICSA president Gabriel Gilmartin has expressed concern over EU Commission proposals on GHG (Green House Gas) reporting which will oblige farmers to report land use changes such as switching from cropland to grassland from 2013 onwards. “ICSA is concerned that this will lead to more unnecessary bureaucracy for farmers. Potentially, these reporting requirements could require the assistance of a Teagasc advisor or environmental specialist leading to extra costs for EU farmers.”
Mr Gilmartin was referring to the publication by the Commission of draft proposals on “Accounting Rules & action plans on GHG emissions and removals resulting from activities related to land use, land use change and forestry”.
Mr Gilmartin acknowledged that the proposals accepted that agriculture was not the same as the Emissions Traded Sector because farming activities such as forestry and grassland were actually very useful carbon sinks.
“Farmers cannot be expected to reduce emissions if this implies cutting back on the production of food in a world where food security is a key issue. The general focus on climate change under Kyoto and EU policies so far has been all about emissions reduction. Meanwhile, not enough account is taken of carbon sequestration arising from certain types of farming and forestry. Moreover, the issue is not about absolute emissions levels but about the most efficient amount of emissions for each kg of food produced.”
“However, these are complex issues, where science is still evolving, and it is unrealistic to impose additional burdens on farmers. We need a full debate on any policy changes with a view to pragmatic policies that take account of the realities facing farmers,” he concluded.