16/09/2021 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM
The agriculture, land-use and waste sectors present an opportunity for the Scottish Government to demonstrate its low-carbon credentials by mobilising the full range of devolved powers in these sectors. Waste emissions have fallen steadily, and tree-planting and peatland restoration has accelerated in recent years, but there has been no meaningful progress on tackling agricultural emissions in Scotland.
Sufficient funds must be made available to Scotland by the UK Government to replace the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), commensurate with the scale of contribution that Scotland’s land can make to reducing UK emissions.
Some schemes will benefit from UK-wide co-ordination, including a market mechanism for tree planting – which would, for example, allow Scottish land managers to be paid to offset emissions from flights taking off from England – a UK-wide Bioenery Strategy, and support for carbon capture and storage technology that eventually can be fitted to energy from waste plants.
Actions for the Scottish Government
Scotland’s net-zero and climate resilience goals will not be met without changes in farming and land use. Our scenarios for deep reductions in land-based emissions balance the need to reduce emissions with other essential functions of land, including maintaining food production (which will help prevent the off-shoring of emissions), climate change adaptation and biodiversity. They require the rapid adoption of low-carbon farming practices, a shift to less carbon-intensive diets and sustainable improvements in crop yields, such that at least one-fifth of agricultural land in Scotland is released by 2050 for actions that reduce emissions and sequester carbon.
Scotland’s successor to the Common Agricultural Policy provides an early opportunity to shape changes in land use. The Scottish Government introduced a Rural Support Bill in 2019, which is designed to maintain and simplify the existing CAP scheme in the three to five years after leaving the EU. It does not set out the future direction of Scottish rural support policy, nor does it make provisions for Ministers to create new policy or reform existing policy. The Scottish Government has expressed a desire to do so in a future Scottish Agriculture Bill rather than accept the inclusion of a Scottish schedule in the UK Agricultural Bill
‘Content from 2020 Progress Report to Scottish Parliament | Committee on Climate Change’
We are hosting a series of technical sessions to discuss the steps needing to be taken in 2021 to lay the foundations for achieving these longer-term objectives.
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