The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009
states that greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by 80% by 2050 compared with a defined baseline, with an interim target of a 42% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. The rural sector has an opportunity to help achieve these targets through tree planting, moorland management and changing agricultural practices to become more targeted.
Scottish Land & Estates believes that forestry has a significant role to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions because trees are known to sequester carbon dioxide, as well as bringing a range of other benefits. Therefore, we support tree planting where it is appropriate.
Scotland’s peatlands are a significant carbon sink and are believed to hold 2.7 billion tonnes of carbon. Therefore, it is important that they are carefully managed in order to prevent this important sink from turning into a source of carbon. Scottish Land & Estates believes that this can be achieved by a variety of management practices including rotational muirburn in order to prevent the growth of long rank heather which carries a wildfire risk.
Scottish agriculture has long been recognised as a source of greenhouse gas emissions but Scottish Land & Estates believes that this situation can be reversed if land managers are innovative and adopt new practices such as using better targeting the application of fertilisers and carrying out energy audits to identify savings to help reduce consumption and their carbon footprint. They should also consider installing renewable energy technologies where appropriate.