Nana Winther Kjær
Exploring opportunities and challenges in farm level GHG accounting - a comparison of consumption-based and territorial-based GHG accounting in the case of Danish dairy farms.
Farm level GHG accounting has gained increasing political interest in Denmark, as such a tool will enable the quantification of GHG emissions from individual farms and form the necessary basis for different types of climate policy regulations, e.g. a tax on GHG emissions. One of the key dilemmas regarding farm level GHG accounting is whether the system boundaries should be set to strictly include direct emissions from the farm (territorial-based accounting) or if it should also include emissions embedded in imported inputs and exclude emissions in exported inputs (consumption-based accounting). This study seeks to explore and identify challenges and opportunities associated with the choice of accounting approaches in farm level GHG accounting. Drawing on emission data from six organic and seven conventional Danish dairy farms retrieved from the recently developed farm level GHG accounting tool ‘Klimalandmand’, and interviews conducted with participating farmers, this study offers an assessment of the difference between applying territorial-based and consumption-based approaches in farm level GHG accounting. The study finds that the total emission estimates from the consumption-based model were on average 46 pct. higher than estimates from the territorial-based model, and further that the increase was notably higher for conventional farms than organic farms. In regards to the challenges and opportunities associated with the two approaches, the interviews revealed a rather diverging set of perspectives from the farmers. Whereas some farmers found the territorial-based approach to be more simple in terms of responsibility, other farmers argued that territorial-based accounting will generate misleading results, as emissions embedded in imports are neglected. It was therefore argued, that consumption- based accounting provides more comprehensive results.
Through interviews with the group of dairy farmers that have recently tested ‘Klimalandmand’ as a farm level GHG accounting tool, this study will furthermore investigate how Danish farmers perceive the potential implications associated with choice of accounting approach. By doing so, the main objective of this study is to explore and identify challenges and opportunities associated with the choice of accounting approach in farm level GHG accounting.
The following research questions can be identified:
1) How does the choice of accounting approach (territorial-based or consumption-based accounting) affect estimates of farm level GHG emissions?
2) To what extent does the choice of accounting approach affect GHG emission estimates of organic and conventional farms differently?
3) What are the potential challenges and opportunities associated with territorial-based and consumption-based farm level GHG accounting, and what are their implications for future regulation of the agricultural sector in Denmark?