Marginal Abatement Cost Curves for UK Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Authors

  • Dominic Moran,

  • Michael Macleod,

  • Eileen Wall,

  • Vera Eory,

  • Alistair McVittie,

  • Andrew Barnes,

  • Robert Rees,

  • Cairistiona F. E. Topp,

  • Andrew Moxey

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    • Dominic Moran is with the Research Division, SAC, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JG, UK, as are Michael Macleod, Eileen Wall, Vera Eory, Alistair McVittie, Andrew Barnes, Robert Rees and Cairistiona F. E. Topp. E-mail: Dominic.moran@sac.ac.uk for correspondence. Andrew Moxey is with Pareto Consulting, Edinburgh, UK. Jenny Byars and Mike Thompson of the Committee on Climate Change provided continuous and insightful steering of the original project upon which this paper is based. The authors acknowledge valuable guidance and comments from the editor and two anonymous referees. Further funding from Scottish Government enabled the authors to undertake modification to the project report.


Abstract

This article addresses the challenge of developing a ‘bottom-up’ marginal abatement cost curve (MACC) for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from UK agriculture. An MACC illustrates the costs of specific crop, soil and livestock abatement measures against a ‘business as usual’ scenario. The results indicate that in 2022 under a specific policy scenario, around 5.38 Mt CO2 equivalent (e) could be abated at negative or zero cost. A further 17% of agricultural GHG emissions (7.85 Mt CO2e) could be abated at a lower unit cost than the UK Government’s 2022 shadow price of carbon [£34 (tCO2e)−1]. The article discusses a range of methodological hurdles that complicate cost-effectiveness appraisal of abatement in agriculture relative to other sectors.

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