Gases such as methane (CH4
) and nitrous oxide (N2
O) are an important factor in climate change (alongside carbon dioxide CO2
). Agriculture contributes about 8% of the United Kingdom Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions as methane (from livestock and their manures) and nitrous oxide (from soil and livestock excreta). Emissions are calculated and reported annually in an official Emissions Inventory. However, the way that agricultural emissions are presently estimated fails to take into account the regional differences between farming practices, soils and climate of some of the effects of mitigation measures introduced by government policy and changes in the agricultural industry.
The Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Platform is a new research programme with a total investment of £12.6 million, funded by Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and the devolved administration governments. It seeks to improve the accuracy and resolution of our reporting system by providing new experimental evidence on the factors affecting emissions and statistics relevant to changing farming practices in the UK. It will provide the evidence for a UK specific method of calculating methane and nitrous oxide emissions that will reflect the adoption of mitigation practices by the industry, enabling the forecasting and monitoring of performance against target emissions reductions set by the UK Climate Change Act. This will build upon previous research, combining field experimentation, modelling and scoping of data sources to fill knowledge gaps.