CropWorld 2010: Paice unveils £13m farm emissions project

FARMING Minister Jim Paice has announced funding of £12.6 million to improve understanding about how UK agriculture contributes to climate change.

Agriculture contributes about eight per cent of all UK greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

But the way farming emissions are calculated fails to take into account the differences between different farming practices or the effects of innovative approaches and new policies that aim to reduce GHG emissions.

The current method for calculating agricultural emissions uses a simplified approach, which relies on generic emissions values and on national statistics such as livestock numbers and tonnes of fertiliser used.

The new research, funded by Defra and the Devolved Administrations, will seek to improve understanding of the specific ways in which different farming methods contribute to emissions. The aim is to give farmers the evidence they need to take more effective steps to reduce emissions, Defra said.

Speaking at Crop World 2010 event in London, Mr Paice said: ‘Tackling climate change is a priority as we work towards being the greenest Government ever. This investment demonstrates our commitment to supporting the agricultural sector as it faces the challenges of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“Farmers are already taking action to reduce their impact on climate change and this £12.6 million investment in world class research and development will enable us to understand which measures are having the biggest impacts.”

The £12.6m will be invested over four and half years in a series of projects that will aim to strengthen understanding of emissions produced on farms.

For example, it may show that applying fertiliser to certain crops at different times may reduce nitrous oxide emissions or that some livestock breeds produce less methane than others under different farming systems, Mr Paice.

Sixteen research organisations from across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will contribute to the project, managed by Defra.

The English agriculture industry published its GHG Action Plan in February 2010, making a firm commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. The industry will shortly publish a delivery plan, outlining the activities that will translate into practical actions.

Farming emissions

From 1990 – 2008, the agriculture sector accounted for:

  • 76 per cent of UK nitrous oxide (N20) emissions, mainly from the use of nitrogen fertilisers.
  • 38 per cent of the UK’s methane (CH4) emissions, mainly from the digestive systems of livestock and from manure.
  • 1 per cent of the UK’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

(from 2010 DECC publication of GHG emissions)

Readers' comments (3)

  • Do I have a duty before God and the State to believe that Global Warming and Climate change is man made?

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  • It doesn't matter what you believe David, or indeed even what is true. Making the changes is easy enough - we just have to get the government to levy overseas producers that are not changing. No point in cutting your NOx if we import cheaper stuff with no environmental controls at all.

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  • Wait, I cannot fathom it being so straghitfowrrad.

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