'Carbon sinks need recognition'
Carbon sinks in forestry and grassland must be recognised in any future Climate Change Bill, IFA president John Bryan has insisted.
Speaking at his organisation's sustainability and carbon seminar in Dublin on Wednesday, Mr Bryan also called for credit to be given to the agri-food sector for emission reductions from carbon neutral energy crops such as willow and miscanthus.
This would mean putting in place viable REFIT tariffs for renewable energy production, he added.
The IFA leader insisted that the development of climate change policy must recognise and support the natural competitive advantage of the farming sector.
"IFA favours sectoral plans, as opposed to meaningless target-driven legislation, as a means to addressing climate challenge," he said.
"Any plan for agriculture must accept the position put forward by Teagasc, McKinsey and others that the sector can achieve further emission reductions of no more than 3-4pc."
Carbon emissions in Irish agriculture have been slashed in recent years. Emissions per litre of milk have reduced by over 13pc since 1990, the Irish beef sector has the fifth-lowest carbon footprint in the EU and the use of chemical nitrogen has been cut by 35pc in the past decade.
These changes are equivalent to an annual reduction of half a million tonnes of carbon dioxide.