It is widely accepted that our climate is changing as more greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere as a result of our activities.

·To contribute to global emissions reductions, Scotland has set targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 42 percent by 2020, as a step towards an 80 percent reduction by 2050, compared to a 1990 baseline for emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide

Land managers are becoming increasingly obliged to reduce their environmental impact, and the measurement and management of carbon emissions could soon be essential to all organisations. Scottish Government figures suggest that in agriculture and related land use contributed to around 22.5% of Scotland’s emissions.

Climate change and population growth over the next thirty years are likely to increase the cost of farm inputs such as fuel, feed and fertilisers, along with demand for food from both home and overseas. This will happen against a backdrop of unpredictable weather.

We all need to take steps to reduce emissions to benefit our environment, whilst also improving farm resilience to cope with fluctuating market conditions and the increased risks brought with unpredictable weather patterns.

Greenhouse gas (GHG) - Where from on the farm?

Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

Burning fossil fuels.

Use of oil, diesel and electricity on farm. CO2 could make up anywhere from 2% to 10% of the farms emissions, depending on farm type and activities.

Lifetime in atmosphere; around 65-80% of CO2 emissions are around for 20 to 200 years (remainder >1000s years)?

Methane (CH4)

Natural bi-product of enteric fermentation.

Could make up around 40% of emissions, depending on farm type. Methane is around 21 times more potent than CO2. Lasts approximately 12 yrs in atmosphere.

Nitrous Oxide (N2O)

Soils naturally produce nitrous oxide but levels can be increased by cultivation and N fertiliser. Could make up around 50%+ emissions depending on farm activities. Nitrous oxide is around 310 times more potent than CO2. Lasts approximately 115 yrs in atmosphere.