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25.11.2009 Studies
 
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  • Analysis of Policy Instruments for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Agriculture

Analysis of Policy Instruments for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Agriculture

ADAS, 2009

Content

  • Analysis for the UK of the greenhouse gas abatement potential and costs of measures concerning soil nitrogen and land management, methane utilization, livestock management, and land-use change.

Findings

  • Almost all abatement measures – including less and better timed fertilizer use and reduced tillage – are economically efficient for farmers. That is, farmers are individually better off in the long run when they protect the climate, even if they do not obtain subsidies in exchange.
  • Almost all abatement measures have positive side effects on other public goods, notably for water and air quality and to prevent soil erosion.
  • The greatest abatement potential lies in dairy cow husbandry and in crop soil management (such as the responsible use of nitrogen contained in manure and other fertilizer, and the use of plant species that bind much nitrogen). But these figures are strongly UK specific.

Comment

  • Better environmental performance (and higher standards, by the same token) is not always costly for farmers - and does not always need compensation through subsidies.
  • If market price signals are not enough to convince farmers to adopt more climate friendly farming practices, it may be more important to use public money for advice on sustainable farming rather than just amplifying incentives through subsidies.