What is the Carbon Removals Action Group?
The Carbon Removals Action Group was formed in 2019 to investigate the potential of carbon markets in Ireland, and the issues with ownership of carbon credits.
Along the way, we have uncovered systemic issues with emissions reporting in agriculture, denial of private property rights in agriculture, lack of independence in supervisory bodies, risks associated with environmental activism and the roots of a negative marketing campaign that has done an overwhelming amount of damage to the reputation of farmers as individuals and agriculture as whole.
What are we doing about it?
It is increasingly clear to us, as more and more legally binding commitments are made by government that threaten the future of farming in no uncertain terms, that legal action is required to:
halt the reputational damage suffered by farmers,
repair the damage done in the public perception of farming,
challenge legal commitments made where they undermine Article 2 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change which states that food production must not be threatened,
assert our Constitutional rights to our good name, livelihoods and private property that the State has guaranteed to protect,
ensure that scientific research supporting sustainable agriculture and food production is heard and respected.
Accordingly, we are campaigning to grow our membership to support these legal challenges.
What else can we do?
On its own however, legal action is not enough. For a considerable period of time, environmental activists have owned the public conversation. Government Ministers have freely stated incorrect facts and figures in relation to agricultural emissions and supposed damage caused by farmers to the environment without challenge. Reporting in all forms of media have kept any voices that dissent from the accepted environmental activist positions on agriculture suppressed. The narrative that farmers are seeking preferential treatment that will cause 'unfair' burdens for other sectors has been firmly established in the public perception.
A strong social media presence and communications that will provide context, information and challenge that narrative in an effective way is urgently needed and we will rise to that challenge. Farmers themselves need access to information and be supported with content that helps them to educate themselves and those around them on a day-to-day basis.
Members are encouraged to send us links (or tag us) to online content that is promoting incorrect information, is damaging to farming and/or is contributing to the 'negative marketing' campaign that is so strongly in force in our media.
What else do our members get?
We have given our Members a private forum to discuss the issues that they are experiencing to bring all the voices and ways in which different types of agriculture and individual farms are impacted by the huge variety of environmental regulations that are bearing down on them.
The forum also provides a central place to gather research, articles, data, statistics and other information that help our members to inform themselves independently and provide them with respected, solid scientific information to share and discuss outside the forum.
A section of the forum also provides the ability to participate in polls and voting to ensure that the decisions and actions taken by CRAG are reflective of members opinions and needs. We have heard very clearly that farmers feel their opinions and needs are not being adequately expressed or represented so it's critically important that they have a space in which to do so.
What are our long term goals?
It is not now, nor has it ever been the intention of CRAG to become a new representative body for farming in general dealing with things like quotas, schemes or specific types of agriculture. These services are already very well provided for by existing representative bodies.
In the short-term, it will likely take 3 - 5 years to bring about needed systemic changes to rebuild fairness, honesty and a legally sustainable future for farming in the area of emissions, carbon credits and carbon farming. This is our short term goal. Very little progress can be made by any sector until this this is achieved.
However, once those shorter term goals have been achieved, we will turn our attention back to our core purpose - facilitating the development of carbon markets for farmers, both voluntary and certified, helping them to find customers for their carbon removals and participate in an independent and profitable marketplace.