Scots farmers face 2045 net-zero emissions challenge

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The Scottish Parliament has approved a Climate Change plan which commits the country to achieving net-zero emissions by 2045 with the farming side of the move being addressed by the promised setting up of an Agricultural Modernisation Fund to support investments in agricultural mitigation measures.

The Scottish Parliament decision, taken late on Wednesday, commits the country to achieving net-zero emissions five years faster than is currently set for the UK overall. In addition, it was also agreed to commit Scotland to reduce emissions by 75% by 2030.

Reacting to both targets, NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick (pictured above) said: “To achieve these increasingly stretching targets, whilst maintaining a profitable Scottish agricultural industry, will need cooperation from all stakeholders and Scottish Government support.

“It is important, as we move forward, that we listen to the recommendations of the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) on whether the 2030 target is achievable and prioritise science in any decision-making process.

“Even reaching a 75% reduction by 2030 ramps up the need for a step change in how Scottish agriculture is supported and how agricultural practices are undertaken – and sooner rather than later as we’re only a decade away.”

On the proposed creation of the agricultural modernisation fund to support climate-friendly farming practices, Mr McCornick said this could be the key to delivering on the new targets, enabling agriculture to continue responding positively to the Scottish Parliament’s plan.

The 2030 and 2045 commitments also included parliamentary backing for a whole farm approach to be applied to accounting for emissions, a move designed to allow for the ‘reduction in whole farm greenhouse gas emissions through the use of various measures’.

“This is something NFU Scotland has long supported, with many feeling that farming’s full contribution to mitigating climate change has been routinely undervalued,” said Mr McCornick.

“We will look to work closely with Scottish Government in delivering on our climate change commitments and we look to other sectors, like transport, business and industry, delivering on their part of the deal as well.”

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