The Farmers’ Union of Wales is to discuss the merits and drawbacks of limiting the amount of carbon credits that can be sold from Welsh land, carbon trading quotas and other approaches that might be applied in Cymru.
During a recent meeting of the FUW’s Land Use and Parliamentary Committee, members expressed extreme concern that a large proportion of the carbon locked and sequestered in Welsh land could be sold to other countries and companies outside Cymru, undermining the ability of Welsh agriculture or even Cymru as a whole to become carbon neutral.
They also highlighted ongoing concerns that Welsh farms were being purchased by companies from outside the country in order to "cash in on Cymru’s carbon".
The committee therefore agreed that a quota system should be introduced to reduce this risk, and it was agreed at a subsequent meeting of the FUW’s Presidential Policy Team that "the pros and cons of such limits" should be the subject of detailed discussion by all FUW committee chairmen and the presidential team.
FUW President Glyn Roberts said: “Selling carbon credits to businesses looking to offset their carbon emissions may represent a profitable option or even a lifeline for some farmers.
“However, the same carbon cannot then be used to offset a farm’s own carbon emissions, and members are concerned that a rush to sell off carbon could hamper future generations’ ability to meet net-zero targets.”
Mr Roberts said there was even a concern that Cymru as a whole could "sell the family jewels", undermining the nation’s ability to offset carbon emissions.
“It would be counter-intuitive and a potential disaster if we sold off the carbon we store and sequester in Wales to businesses in other countries, and in so doing force our own businesses to buy carbon credits from other countries in future at inflated costs,” said Mr Roberts.
Speculation about future carbon trading is believed to be a major driving force behind the purchase of large areas of Welsh farmland for tree planting by companies and individuals from outside Cymru raising concerns that a land grab is underway that will disenfranchise Welsh communities and strip them of their carbon assets.
Such concerns were recently reflected in a BBC report which revealed that twelve farms had been bought in the Midlands-Canolbarth by companies outside of the country which aimed to largely plant trees on the land.