Agriculture critical to achieving a Net Zero Scotland
This progress report to the Scottish Parliament from the UK’s Committee on Climate Change shows that, while Scotland’s overall greenhouse gas emissions fell by 3% in 2017, the Scottish Parliament's 2030 target to reduce emissions by 75% will be extremely challenging to meet.
Chapter 6 focuses on “Agriculture and land use, land-use change and forestry”. Since 1990, total Scottish emissions from this sector has decreased by 75% - largely because of more carbon being stored in trees and a lower rate of conversion of grassland to cropland. Direct agricultural emissions have only declined slowly since 1990. The report calls for continued afforestation, for peatland restoration, and for the Scottish Government to “consider moving beyond a voluntary approach with agricultural greenhouse gas reduction policies”.
Europe is the world's second-smallest continent by surface area, covering just over 10 million square kilometres or 6.8% of the global land area, but it is the third-most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a population of around 740 million people or about 11% of the world's population. Its climate is heavily affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent. In the European Union, farmers represent only 4.7% of the working population, yet manage nearly half of its land area.