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HELM TALKS: Net Zero Lecture 4

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Dieter Helm's lecture series on Net Zero

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HELM TALKS: Net Zero Lecture 4

  1. 1. AGENDA • Agricultural emissions • Agricultural consumption emissions vs. production • Applying the polluter pays principle – the emitting bit • Natural sequestration, soils, peat & trees • Biocrops and forestry for biomass • Multiple public goods • The natural capital baseline
  2. 2. AGRICULTURAL EMISSIONS On a production basis – at least 10% • + peat and soil emissions not captured by conventional measurements • + biofuels On a consumption basis • Fertilisers + pesticides emissions • Imported machinery manufacture • Food import consumption Can’t do next zero without agriculture
  3. 3. AGRICULTURE CONSUMPTION & NOT JUST PRODUCTION • UK imports almost ALL inputs • Fertilisers, steel, cement, petrochemicals, aluminium used by farmers • UK imports 40% food • So need border tariffs if net zero terrestrial production targets to create level playing field.
  4. 4. POLLUTER PAYS PRINCIPLE • Good 101 economics • Red Diesel • Fertilisers & pesticide taxes • Peat emissions & a common carbon price
  5. 5. SEQUESTRATION, SOILS & PEAT • A carbon price, e.g. £16 a tonne Carbon Floor Price • A baseline – Natural Capital Survey of natural capital assets • A 1 year/5 year update • Enhancement scenarios and accreditation But what about already good conditions? • Use taxes for net emissions • Level playing field on imports • Regulation • Scope for offsets & carbon credit trading
  6. 6. BIOCROPS & FORESTRY • No such thing as fully renewable bio-crops and biofuels • Forestry is temporary sequestration • Biomass as wood pellets in power stations is not net zero • Full cycle costs of biocrops • AD for waste very different for AD with maize & crops AND • One hectare per minute Amazon destroyed
  7. 7. MULTIPLE PUBLIC GOODS • Non-excludable, non-rival & public not private • Multiple consequences of net zero production targets • On trees and water • On trees & biodiversity • On soils and peats and biodiversity • Risk of silo mentality • It is not just all about climate change

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