The Welsh Government has set a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2020 against a 1990 baseline, including an overall target of reducing emissions in areas of devolved competence by 3% a year, with the expectation that all the relevant sectors would make a contribution.
In 2010 ,the Land Use Climate Change Group (LUCCG) set out a series of recommendations to achieve emissions reduction in the agriculture and land use sectors in Wales. However, these sectors showed an emissions increase of 1.2% in 2011, rather than the expected 3% decrease.
In 2014, the Welsh Government commissioned a consortium, led by RSK company ADAS in partnership with Aberystwyth and Bangor universities, the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and Rothamsted Research, to assess the evidence base for climate change action in the agriculture, land use and wider food chain sectors in Wales.
The work had two main parts. The first was a desk-based review of the recommendations from the 2010 LUCCG report, alongside a review of changes to the greenhouse gas inventory, for understanding how these interventions might affect the emissions delivery plan for the sector. This included an assessment of almost 50 recommendations within the LUCCG report on several key themes: productive agriculture, land use and management, and renewable energy.
The second, a review of the risks to the sector from climate change, aimed to inform the adaptation response in the Welsh Government’s sector adaptation plan. This included the consideration of climate impacts and weather events such as flooding, water stress, wildfires, pest and diseases.
The research also included consultation with relevant policy and industry stakeholders in Wales to provide a pragmatic analysis to inform coherent and effective policy in this area.
The outputs provided the Welsh Government with a review of emissions and adaptation in the agriculture and land use sectors to provide a robust evidence base to support policy decision makers and to ensure coherence with wider government priorities on jobs, growth and poverty.