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Reducing farming's greenhouse gas emissions:what will the future bring?

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This presentation forms part of the Farming Futures workshop 'Making livestock farming fit for the future'

This presentation forms part of the Farming Futures workshop 'Making livestock farming fit for the future'

9th December 2009

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    Reducing farming's greenhouse gas emissions:what will the future bring? Reducing farming's greenhouse gas emissions:what will the future bring? Presentation Transcript

    • Reducing farming’s greenhouse gas emissions: what will the future bring? Martin Nesbit Director, carbon budgets for agriculture and the food chain Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
    • Mitigation and farming • The Low Carbon Transition Plan, published in July, set out how emissions reductions would be delivered for the first three five year carbon budget periods: • 2008-2012 • 2013-2017 • 2018-2022 • Committee on Climate Change advised HMG that targets should no longer be set in terms of CO2, but a basket of greenhouse gases - including methane and nitrous oxide
    • Mitigation and farming • Because targets now cover all main GHGs, agriculture becomes more prominent • Low Carbon Transition Plan target is a reduction of 3MT of CO2e a year by the third budget period (2018-22); about 11% from today’s levels • Setting targets for agriculture needs to take account of: • Emissions reduction potential • Costs • policies to help deliver • The risk we penalise UK production and simply export the problem; • Ability to measure and validate emissions and emissions reductions
    • Methods for abatement • Manure management to reduce methane emissions • Improved fertiliser application to reduce nitrous oxide emissions • Better animal feed stocks • Improved crop and grazing land management to improve soil carbon • Improved efficiency and productivity – e.g., EBLEX’s Better Returns programme; improved animal health
    • Abatement potential, and costs £/tCO2e 250 AD Crops and Soil Livestock 150 100 50 0 0 5 MtCO2e -50 Probiotics Avoid N-Excess Nitrification Inhibitors -100 Species Intro Breeding (N Efficiency) Improved Drainage -150 Breeding (Fertility) 2020 Central Feasible Manure N Use Potential Timing (Organic N) Timing (Mineral N) Source: Committee on Climate Change, December 2008
    • The plan to 2020 To take action To provide support 3Mt reduction compared to 2020 Advisory service predicted levels Carbon Trust interest-free loans Outline of Plan by end of Nov Improved inventory Action Plan by Spring 2010 Anaerobic Digestion • Intervention options (Spring 2010) • Climate Change Plan (Spring 2010) • Review voluntary progress (2012)
    • Why (else) is this important? • 7% not as much as some other sectors • But if we fail to deliver agriculture’s emissions reduction for 2020, our challenge for 2050 will be even greater than it is already • We want to influence the international agenda on agriculture • What opportunities are there to sell UK innovation abroad? • Copenhagen
    • Industry responses • NFU, CLA, and AIC have accepted the challenge of developing an action plan in response to the targets, and have re-established the Climate Change Task Force • Dairy Supply Chain Forum’s Milk Roadmap • “Change in the Air” – part 1 of EBLEX’s strategy for the Sustainable Consumption and production of beef and sheep meat • Last week’s publication by BPEX of “Pigs and the Environment”, with recommendations for the future sustainability of the sector
    • What’s next? • Work with the NFU/CLA/AIC task force on its action plan • Defra’s climate change programme published in the Spring • Finding effective ways of delivering advice: making emissions reductions real at farm level • Improving the inventory of greenhouse gas emissions from farming • Bringing other actors (processors, distributors, retailers) into the discussion on how we deliver 3 Mts of emissions reductions by 2020
    • And after that? • Reflection on how the farming and food industries operate in the carbon-constrained world of 2030 and 2050 needs to start now • In particular, because we need to know what level of emissions reduction is achievable and desirable for agriculture, to help us understand the size of the challenge for the rest of the economy.
    • UK 2050 perspective
    • Some questions • ...the strategies livestock production should adopt in the face of concerns about diet and health? • ...the relationship between improved productive efficiency and exports? • ...what happens to pasture land if we eat less meat and dairy? • ...the assumptions we should make about land use change? • ...what farming practices are best at reducing emissions, or storing carbon, in the long-term? • ...how food processors, distributors, and retailers can work constructively with farming to help meet our targets?
    • Martin.nesbit@defra.gsi.gov.uk http://www.defra.gov.uk/