Wider implications of greenhouse gas mitigation measures in English agriculture

D Moran*, V Eory, A McVittie, E Wall, CFE Topp, DI McCracken, MJ Haskell

*Corresponding author for this work

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

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nder the guidance of the Committee for Climate Change (CCC), the UK has identified a range of greenhouse gas mitigation actions that can be implemented cost-effectively within different sectors of the economy. UK agriculture and land use change make a relatively small (around 8% of total) but significant contribution to emissions and the sector is expected to make a contribution to overall targets.
In response to initial government GHG budgets, the agricultural industry has responded with its own route map for reducing sector emissions, initially by concentrating on measures that reduce emissions by raising production efficiency. Many of the measures identified by the industry have already been identified in Marginal Abatement costs curves (MACCs) developed for the CCC.
In developing the MACCs there was a recognition that the cost-effectiveness of measures could be altered by the inclusion of wider ancillary impacts (or co-benefits and costs) and the additional life-cycle and displacement impacts implied by some measures. For example, some measures implemented on farms can impact on biodiversity and water quality. Other measures could entail activities beyond the farm gate that give rise to pollution. Other measures implemented in the UK could reduce productivity and therefore be offset by production overseas, with no net effect on emissions.
This project attempts to provide a more systematic review of the nature and size of these impacts. It will focus on the measures covered by the industry route map as applicable to agriculture in England. The identification and quantification of these external and ancillary impacts will help government understand the full costs of implementing both the industry route map and alternative mitigation actions indicated by CCC analysis.
An initial qualitative review will summarise how relevant mitigation measures can be associated with the aforementioned ancillary impacts, and a scoring system will be developed to grade these additional impacts. A further quantitative analysis will develop and implement a methodology for quantifying and valuing (in monetary terms) the relevant costs and benefits associated with the same measures.
Both stages will draw on a range of published data to define a baseline for the analysis and the range of non-market external costs and benefit estimates that are available for the agricultural sector.
The outputs of this project are inception, interim and final reports, and a set of accompanying spreadsheets that will link mitigation measure scenarios to their relevant external costs. This information will provide Defra with a better evidence base on the full economic impacts (and therefore cost-effectiveness) of measures. Cost-effective mitigation reduces the overall burden of mitigation on society (i.e. farmers and tax payers).
This project will be delivered by a multi disciplinary team including crop and animal scientists, ecologists and economists. The team has previously collaborated on the development of MACCs for the agricultural sector and has considerable experience in the quantification of ancillary impacts and their monetary valuation
The tender specification sets out a clear set of qualitative and quantitative objectives, which we use as the structure of this section (numbered 1 – 8). We also spell out discrete deliverables as reports that can be used as intermediate milestones and deliverables if necessary. More normally, these sections will be consolidated into one final report at the end of the project. We recognize the overall objective of this project is to gain a better understanding of the wider consequences of accomplishing the mitigation targets set out in the industry route map. A subsidiary objective is to investigate methods to offset these impacts. These objectives are expanded in the section on Approaches and Methodology section below.
1. Inventory of relevant impacts for each mitigation measure (stand alone report, Month 1)
2. Baseline impacts and traffic light scoring (Stand alone report, End Month 2)
3. A qualitative commentary on the interaction between measures and productivity potential and potential to offset elsewhere (stand alone report Month 2)
4. Summarise/synthesise relevant agriculture externality values for categories relevant to measures (stand alone report or report section, Month 2)

Relevant categories to be considered :

- Food production (and quality)
- Production outside the farm gate
- Social impacts (jobs, built environment, farm sizes, landscape)
- LUC (and its environmental effects)
- Genetic and systemic diversity (and resilience implications)
- Pests and diseases
- Biodiversity
- Animal health and welfare

5. Establish a monetary value baseline without reference to any mitigation scenario (report section Month 3)
6. Gap analysis on external impacts and monetary values – including wider LCA impacts and values ( report section Month 3)
7. Derive a social value of each measure in the route map (overlaid on baseline) (report section Month 5)
8. Developing user-friendly spreadsheet for future use (Month 5)
The main milestones are an inception meeting (with a written report), a final report (consolidating all sections above) and at least three further meetings or knowledge exchange events.
Original languageEnglish
Commissioning bodyUK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Number of pages99
Publication statusPrint publication - 2013


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