Climate Change

StormAgriculture and the land-based industries in Scotland play a major role in many of the features which have an influence on the very real problem of climate change. Both those in the industry and those concerned with public good issues, politicians and legislators, are keen to develop a greater understanding of how agricultural practices impact on the drivers of climate change.

We have a special role to play in gaining the new knowledge needed to understand the complex processes involved and also in developing a technical understanding of changes which can be made to Scottish agricultural and land management practices that will help ameliorate climate change, particularly greenhouse gas emissions.  For example, through:

  • undertaking research of practical relevance and benefit
  • helping translate Government policy into practice

Encouraging professionals in the land-based industries to consider new opportunities, such as:

  • growing non-food crops for biofuel production
  • considering on-farm energy production from renewable sources such as wind, hydro, solar heat
  • generating energy from anaerobic digestion of farm wastes
  • auditing their energy use
  • managing carbon emissions and 'carbon footprinting'

Some factors which influence climate change in Scotland: 

  • the plants that we grow as food crops, and the vegetation that enhances our environment fix atmospheric carbon dioxide
  • soils can store carbon dioxide can be stored in the upper layers of soils
  • converting land to grassland and forestry can help remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere
  • emissions of methane and nitrous oxides resulting from agricultural practices form a significant contribution to greenhouse gas emissions as they have stronger warming potentials than carbon dioxide

Climate Change and Livestock Systems

Among the challenges and opportunities climate change will present for the Scottish livestock industry are: 

  • ensuring buildings can cope with extreme weather events
  • introduction of new breeds
  • possible increased feed costs
  • changes in breeding and lactation cycles
  • changes in animal appetite and health
  • increased veterinary costs due to a longer disease seasons

Further Information

To find out more, check out Downloads below which include:

  • Carbon footprinting reporting for a Scottish livestock farm
  • Investigating Farmer Perceptions towards Climate Change: A segmentation approach