The development of marginal abatement cost modelling to develop emissions budgets

As previously noted, there are methodological differences in the development of marginal emissions abatement costs information for agriculture. While the literature has been dominated by top-down modelling, there is a need to understand whether this provides accurate information on area-specific mitigation costs developed with a more localised bottom-up

1 www.ukcip.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=69&Itemid=185.

approach. We note that there are no comparative studies reconciling abatement cost information for agriculture. This is possibly due to the shortage of bottom-up studies.

Existing bottom-up abatement cost analysis suggests that there is likely to be a broad range of mitigation options in crop/soils and livestock and that there is scope for implementing a range of measures that in fact reduce emissions and improve the economic performance of the farm (win-win). However, the diversity and biological complexity of agricultural systems complicates our ability to deliver generic messages on efficient mitigation potential. While this message appears to be true using national level analysis, to determine the scope for a sector budget requires more targeted MACC analysis focussed on defined regions and/or farm types. This analysis would account for regional and local biophysical conditions and potentially be based on different assumptions on uptake from those detailed in the UK example.

The development of specific MACC information opens up a range of related issues regarding the nature of mitigation costs and benefits. For example, what is the effect of adding other ancillary external benefits attributed to mitigation measures? Should costs and benefit of mitigation be limited to those counted within the farm boundary, or should a more comprehensive MACC account for life-cycle impacts (e.g. reduction of nitrogen use)? This last question leads inexorably to a broader question of whether we should be counting production or consumption emissions. This question is beyond the scope of this report, but, assuming we stay with IPCC conventions, the MACC framework is useful for accommodating these other issues.

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