Greenhouse gas emissions from Scottish farming: an exploratory analysis of the Scottish Farm Business Survey and Agrecalc
The Scottish Government has set ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from Scottish agriculture; in 2018 these emissions represented 16% of the nation’s total. As part of a commitment to reach net-zero emissions by 2045, the Climate Change Plan update requires the equivalent of a 31% reduction in agricultural emissions by 2032 from 2018 levels. However, between 1990 and 2019 Scottish agriculture’s emissions decreased by only 13%. Various options have been proposed for reducing GHG emissions in Scottish agriculture. The sector is characterised by a large array of farming systems; it is not yet clear how emissions are distributed within the farm population, for example, across different types of livestock and arable farms. We need a better understanding of how GHG emissions vary across farms to help us understand the scope for emission reductions and the potential impacts on farm incomes. Generating metrics can support our understanding by providing baselines and accommodating wider goals for future Scottish agricultural policy development, monitoring and evaluation. This report explores how data on emissions and nitrogen from the Scottish Farm Business Survey, using Agrecalc, can be used to help design policies aimed at reducing emissions in a sustainable way. Agrecalc is a farm carbon calculator developed by SRUC and used widely within Scotland.