The CEO of Ibec – the group of companies and employers – warned the government that a proposed change in carbon accounting methodology would reduce the national herd to 2011 levels.

Danny McCoy told Taoiseach Micheál Martin that the move could result in a loss to the Irish economy of up to 7.8 billion euros per year and would be “extremely damaging to the food industry and rural Ireland”.

In a letter sent in October, the CEO of Ibec said the agribusiness sector had “very serious and urgent concerns” about “a proposed new carbon accounting methodology being considered by the government in the carbon budgeting process” .

McCoy said that while the possible methodological changes are technical in nature, they require very careful consideration and evaluation.

He urged the government to use the established net-net methodology rather than the proposed gross-net method, which includes emissions from land use, for carbon budgets.

It is understood that despite the concerns raised, the government has adopted the change in order to achieve the goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Carbon accounting

Danny McCoy’s letter claimed that the gross-net carbon accounting policy “would completely undermine the viability of Irish agri-food, including dairy”.

“The agricultural sector and in particular the dairy sector have an ambitious plan to support best practices in climate change according to scientific standards, based on accepted and sound scientific methodologies,” he wrote.

The correspondence referred to a study carried out by EY (Ernst and Young) in the summer of 2021 on the impact of the Climate Act on the Irish dairy sector.

McCoy said using the gross-net valuation to achieve Ireland’s proposed 51% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions would require a milk supply reduction of 4.9. billion liters.

“If this were mandatory, it would bring the dairy sector back to 2010 production levels and lead to substantial job losses in industry and on the farm.

“It appears that using a gross-net policy rather than the established net-net accounting method would lead to a reduction in the size of the national herd to 2011 levels, to comply with the national climate law. “, did he declare.

The letter also included an analysis of the impact of the change in carbon budget accounting on each county:

Source: Ibec