The United Kingdom has long been a forerunner in ambitious policy to tackle climate change. Since 2011, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector have mainly been achieved through implementation of the “Greenhouse Gas Action Plan for Agriculture”. This fact sheet analyses the impacts of the Action Plan and its transferability to Germany.
The Greenhouse Action Plan for Agriculture was adopted in 2011 by 14 organisations representing the English agricultural sector in order to achieve the UK-wide sector emission reduction target of 3 MtCO2e by the end of 2022. Composed and implemented by a wide range of actors, the Action Plan is widely supported and is applied through existing networks and channels of communication to provide farmers with up-to-date advice, training, and information on ways to increase production efficiency while also reducing emissions. The Action Plan successfully achieved emission reductions amounting to 1 MtCO2e per annum by 2016, mainly due to measures promoting increased efficiency, modern farming methods and application of best practices.
On examining potential transferability of this climate policy instrument to the German context, a high level of comparability can be identified between the agricultural sectors of Germany and England based on structural, political, and economic indicators. Given an appropriate regulatory framework, implementation of a voluntary Action Plan can be a step towards meaningful mitigation in the agricultural sector and is suitable for achieving short- to mid-term reduction targets.
The present study forms part of a series of publications within the project “Bridging European and Local Climate Action (BEACON)”. As part of this project scientific analyses were conducted on several national policy instruments that have successfully facilitated greenhouse gas emission reductions in European countries in the construction, transport, agriculture and small-industry sectors. The analyses focused particularly on the instruments’ effectiveness and their potential transferability to the German context.