Sir, – Dr Eimear Cotter’s response (Letters, September 20th) to the concerns of Friends of the Irish Environment about Ireland’s greenhouse gas reporting (Letters, September 15th) states, “Mr Lowes incorrectly states that Ireland’s national greenhouse gas emissions do not account for nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from fertiliser application to grassland”.
We didn’t say that. We simply repeated what the European Commission has stated to us after the investigation of our complaint. Ireland “has adopted a Tier 1 approach to reporting GHG emissions associated with those areas defined as grasslands”. As Dr Karl Richards of Teagasc pointed out (Letters, September 19th), “the use of Tier 1 does not mean the emissions are not counted in the inventory, it just means we are using Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change default emission factors due to the absence of country-specific ones.” The original 2006 EPA Synthesis Report on the EPA two-year project measuring the impact of nitrogen fertilisers on grasslands we cited in our letter (whose 10 authors included Teagasc, the EPA and leading academics) found that emissions in the first year were “within the range of values used for inventory reporting purposes for N-fertilised grasslands under IPCC calculation procedures”, but that “calculated emission factors for Year 2 are substantially higher”. That report recommended further studies to enable Ireland to move to Tier II reporting of nitrogen impact on grasslands. Some 17 years later we are still reporting under the “lower quality and higher uncertainty of the Tier I method”. – Yours, etc,
Friends of the Irish Environment,