Marginal abatement cost curve for Scottish agriculture

V Eory*, CFE Topp, RM Rees, I Leinonen, JM Maire, M MacLeod, AS Sykes, E Wall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book/Report/Policy Brief/Technical BriefCommissioned report

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Scotland is committed to meeting a net-zero target for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2045(Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 20191). Agriculture and the land use sector can help in two ways: by changing practices to reduce GHG emissions and by storing carbon in the soil and plants. In 2018 agriculture and related land use was responsible for 23% of total Scottish emissions. Emissions from agriculture have fallen by 30% since 1990, compared with a reduction of 45% across total emissions (Scottish Government 2020a).The Climate Change Plan2(CCP) is a key policy tool which has been recently revised to help Scotland meet the new net-zero target. Policy development is informed by the Scottish ‘TIMESmodel’3. This model pulls together emission, mitigation and mitigation cost data from all sectors to help understand the strategic choices required to decarbonise an economy. It identifies the effectiveness of carbon reduction measures to enable a consistent comparison of the costs of action across all sectors. To ensure the model uses the most recent data for agriculture, our research updated estimates of the mitigation potential and the cost-effectiveness of a selection of agricultural mitigation options. It took into account the significant recent improvements in UK agricultural GHG inventory reporting (Smart Inventory).
We assessed 14 farm technologies and practices which can reduce GHG emissions in Scotland by 2050. Some of these measures can be applied to multiple types of livestock, raising the number of mitigation options to 21.
The aim was to estimate the different measures’ average mitigation potential, capital and recurring costs per unit (e.g. hectare or animal), and total maximum applicability on-farm. This research considers average estimates. On an individual farm basis, both the mitigation and the net costs can be very different.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages56
Publication statusPrint publication - Jan 2021


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