Title: Establishing a reference carbon calculator and policy options to promote low carbon farming practices in the EU
Citation: 8th International Conference on Life Cycle Assessment in the Agri-Food Sector p. 916
Publisher: INRA
Publication Year: 2012
JRC N°: JRC68739
ISBN: 978-2-7466-5740-3
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC68739
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: The direct emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) from agriculture accounted for around 10% of total European Union (EU) emissions in 2010. It has been estimated that in the United Kingdom the agri-food sector as whole contributes around 19% of GHG emissions when life cycle emissions are taken into account. To reduce the farming-related GHG emissions appropriate policy instruments and supporting tools that promote low carbon farming practices must be developed. This paper describes an on-going project that aims at assessing the policy options to promote low carbon farming practices in the EU. The project includes: i) a review of existing farm-level life-cycle based carbon calculators and climate-related certification and labelling schemes, ii) the development of a user friendly open-source carbon calculator suitable for assessing the life cycle GHG emissions from different types of farming systems across the whole EU, and iii) the design/assessment of policy options for promoting low carbon farming practices. The carbon calculator is expected to quantify direct and indirect GHG emissions according to the general-level and sector-specific international standards and guidelines on Life Cycle Assessment and carbon footprint. In addition to the GHG emission quantification, the tool is also expected to propose mitigation options and sequestration actions suitable for single farms. Specific farming practices will be recommended on the basis of emission reduction potential, potential leakage effects, inherent costs of implementation, and impact on other environmental issues. The practicality and acceptability of the carbon calculator will be tested on around a hundred farms across the EU. Finally, a range of options for making widespread use of the carbon calculator will be outlined, including e.g. public or private certification schemes, incentive payments to farmers, and legal obligations for farmers to reduce GHG emissions.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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