Confor welcomes Scottish whole-farm carbon accounting

27 September 2019

The Scottish Government has hailed the new Scottish Climate Change Act as the ‘toughest climate change laws in the world’. 

During the debate on the Act, which passed this week, the interim target to reduce emissions was increased to an ambitious 75 per cent of 1990 levels by 2030. 

Stuart Goodall, Confor's CEO, has written about Scotland's leading role in tackling climate change and the opportunity to make a strong statement of intent ahead of the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow in December 2020.

The Act commits Scottish ministers to developing a climate change plan within five years. As well as ensuring that forestry is included in the plan, the bill introduces a new requirement to develop proposals regarding ‘the establishment of a whole farm approach to emissions accounting on Scottish farms’ and ‘the reduction of Scottish whole farm greenhouse gas emissions’ through measures including carbon sequestration and agroforestry.

Confor Policy Researcher Eleanor Harris said: "Whole-farm carbon accounting has real potential to help farmers see tree planting as integral to their farm business, delivering not just carbon benefits but diversified production through timber, and enhancing livestock or arable production through benefits such as shelter, soil improvement and flood prevention."

Confor members around the UK last week took part in the global youth climate strike by tweeting photos of their work to capture carbon through sustainable forestry and timber production, under the hashtag, #TheFutureIsForestry

Confor’s popular Farm Forestry report provides case studies of Scottish farms which have incorporated timber production into their business. Detailed, costed examples of creative approaches to integrating trees into the farm landscape are explored in the Soil Association’s new Agroforestry Handbook.

The Climate Change Act is available on the Scottish Parliament website.

So far, Scotland has reduced emissions by 39% since 1990; and has a target to hit 42% by 2020, 75% by 2030, and 100% (carbon zero) by 2045.