Aarhus Universitets segl

No.491: Inclusion of the climate effect of organic agricultural production in the national emission inventory and projection

Mikkelsen, M.H., Gyldenkærne, S. & Albrektsen, R. 2022. Inkludering af klimaeffekt af økologisk landbrugsproduktion i den nationale emissionsopgørelse og fremskrivning. Aarhus Universitet, DCE – Nationalt Center for Miljø og Energi, 42 s. - Videnskabelig rapport nr. 491. https://dce2.au.dk/pub/SR491.pdf


At present it is not possible, to differentiate between emissions from conventional and organic farming, neither for the national greenhouse gas emission inventory nor the projection. Exceptions being emissions from housing and storage for poultry (broilers and chickens) as well as swine from 2019 and onwards.

However, the organic production is implicitly reflected in the emission inventory as well as in the projection, because the most important emission variables such as feed consumption, manure excretion, housing types, cultivated area and yields, all are based on data, which includes data from both the conventional and organic farming.

The same calculation methodology is used for the national emission inventory and the projection, and in that sense, the challenges of differentiation between conventional and organic farming are similar. No changes in the methodologies are expected as a consequence of a full differentiation between emissions for organic and conventional farming, neither for the agricultural nor LULUCF sector. The challenge is more about being able to obtain data separately for the two production systems. Currently, data are based on a summation of data from organic and conventional production.

Basically, a full differentiation between the emissions from organic and conventional farming requires dual data sets of all activity data and emission factors.

In relation to the agricultural sector, it is expected that data related to emissions from cultivation of agricultural soils are significantly more challenging to obtain than data for livestock production. It seems that data on the number of animals on organic production systems are available, while data are needed for other emission variables such as feed intake / feed composition and housing type distribution. The importance of consistency between feed data from SEGES, the Normative data and the background data used in the emission inventory as well as the projection has to be emphasized.

In relation to the LULUCF sector, it is considered that it is not possible at present to differentiate between emissions from conventional and organic farming for mineral soils as the initial carbon values of the soil is not known. However, a differentiation for organic soils would bepossible based on data from the Danish Agricultural Agency.

Consistency is one of the five key quality criteria for national emission inventories and projections. This includes that the reported time series of emissions must be consistent, and in case of methodological changes are made, recalculations of the time series is required (back to 1990 for greenhouse gases), to ensure the consistency. Likewise, methodological inconsistencies between the projection and the historical inventory would not be in line with the guidelines and would therefore give rise to criticism from the EU projection review team.