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Fall in greenhouse gas emissions welcomed by Farmers' Union

By Niall Harkiss

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NFU Scotland’s Climate Change Policy Manager, Kate Hopper
NFU Scotland’s Climate Change Policy Manager, Kate Hopper

A reduction in agricultural greenhouse gas emissions has been welcomed by the National Farmers' Union of Scotland.

NFU Scotland welcomed the latest Scottish Government figures, which show a further decrease in agriculture greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2.9 per cent (0.2 MtCO2e) between 2019 and 2020.

Scottish agriculture’s emissions have now dropped 14.9 per cent since 1990.

The reductions can be seen across all of the three main types of greenhouse gases created by food production: C02, methane, and nitrous oxide.

Reacting to the publication of the figures NFU Scotland’s climate change policy manager, Kate Hopper, said: “It is fantastic to see the hard work already ongoing across Scotland by our farmers and crofters to mitigate GHG emissions on farm reflected in the statistics published today.”

“Unlike other industries which may be expecting a bounce back in emissions as they move on from the impacts of Covid-19, Scottish agriculture maintained production in challenging times and kept the nation fed during the pandemic.

“This means the fall in C02, methane, and nitrous oxide announced today are a clear sign of the industries commitment to meeting its climate change goals”.

“NFU Scotland is working with the Scottish Government on how best to support Scottish farms and crofts to reduce their emissions.”

“While there is still a lot more work to do to get to net zero, these figures show that with the right future policy support Scottish agriculture can get there.”

“This includes the Scottish Government’s recently launched National Test Programme which is working towards baselining and more accurate reporting of on farm GHGs. The programme will also be leading work into what on farm actions best reduce emissions.”

“Our members have been working hard carrying out carbon audits to identify where improvements can be made, along with their on-farm energy use, switching to renewables, and looking at how to reduce the inputs they use.”

“Going forwards we also need to look at how the UK’s national inventory records GHG emissions. All carbon sequestration is currently recorded against the land use sector, including measures such as tree planting carried out on our farms.

“Farms have huge potential to store carbon, and we would like to see this balanced against our emissions, whilst we continue to produce high quality, sustainable, healthy Scottish food.”

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