How will my carbon footprint change in Agrecalc Cloud?

The launch of Agrecalc Cloud is not just about the modern interface or new features; it's about refining the underlying science and data. We explain what it means for your carbon footprint results and how to interpret them.

Results in Agrecalc Cloud reflect cutting-edge climate change research.

Agrecalc Cloud includes several exciting updates to the science behind our carbon calculations. These updates reflect innovative scientific research, meaning our emissions estimates are more accurate and context-specific than ever before.

What are the coefficients used in GHG emissions calculations?

Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol supplies the world’s most widely used greenhouse gas accounting standards. They are based on IPCC Assessment Reports, of which there are several.

The IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, 2014, known as AR5, contains the most recent values. However, the Second Assessment Report (AR2, from 1995) and Fourth Assessment Report (AR4, from 2007) values are also sometimes used for inventory and reporting purposes.

The latest Report – known as AR6 – was published by the IPCC in 2021, and the values from it will be used in future iterations of Agrecalc, once it becomes the standard reporting methodology.

Agrecalc provides data to a number of clients for use in SBTi FLAG assessments.

The full list of all greenhouse gases and their Global Warming Potential (GWP) can be found on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol website.

What are the coefficients used in Agrecalc platforms?

The current version of Agrecalc continues to use AR4. However, Agrecalc Cloud will be migrating to AR5 GWP metrics to align with current national (UK Government) and international reporting requirements.

The change from AR4 to AR5 will first happen on the current version of Agrecalc, available at app.agrecalc.com.

As the migrations to Agrecalc Cloud happen, the AR5 will already be implemented there. Going forward, additional reporting metric of GWP* will be available for calculation of methane emissions.

The launch of Agrecalc Cloud is not just about the modern interface or new features; it's about refining the underlying science and data.

What does that mean for my results in a carbon footprint report?

Recent enhancements to the Agrecalc model mean the same input data in the original version of Agrecalc will yield slightly different results in the updated version. If you want to understand the sources of variation between the original Agrecalc and Agrecalc Cloud, this blog is for you.

Emission estimates in Agrecalc Cloud will differ slightly from the previous version. In most reports, these updates will lead to a modest reduction in total emissions.

The relative contribution of different emission sources to total farm emissions remains similar across the two calculators. Emission estimates from certain sources differ significantly, but these disparities can be easily explained by the refined science in the new calculator. Notable scientific updates  include:

  1. Updated Fertiliser Calculations: Emissions from the production of fertiliser are calculated in Agrecalc Cloud using information published by Fertilisers Europe (2018). This represents an update from the data used in the original calculation. The upgrade generally leads to lower emission estimates for embedded emissions from fertilisers. 

  2. Updated Feed and Bedding Calculations: We now use data from the Global Feed LCA Institute (GFLI) to calculate emissions related to purchased feed and bedding. This update has led to changes in calculated feed and bedding emissions. Our original calculator (the current version of Agrecalc, still available on app.agrecalc.com, before we migrate all our users to Agrecalc Cloud) did not include emissions related to land use change, whereas the new methodology includes these impacts. Therefore, emissions for feeds with a high land use change impact, such as soya and palm oil, will be higher in Agrecalc Cloud.
  3. Scope 3 Emissions for Energy and Waste: Agrecalc Cloud now includes all upstream emissions from energy and waste used and produced on the farm. That means there will be a very slight increase in calculated emissions in these areas compared to the original version.
  4. Improved Soil Carbon Modelling: Our IPCC Tier I soil carbon model has been refined to reflect user input data more closely. That means where extreme results were seen in the original version, new results should be more easily explained. The soil carbon section in the Agrecalc Cloud User Guide provides more detail on this.
  5. Updates to International Climate Science: We have updated our greenhouse gas coefficients to values published in the IPCC 5th Assessment Report (AR5). This means emissions from methane will have a slightly greater impact on CO2-eq emissions.

The results generated by the latest version of Agrecalc provide a clearer, more accurate picture of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with farming activities.

What does that mean when I move from one platform to the other?

The journey to a more sustainable agriculture industry relies on innovation and continuous improvement. The results generated by the latest version of Agrecalc provide a clearer, more accurate picture of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with farming activities.

As we move forward in our efforts to combat climate change and promote sustainable agriculture, it’s crucial to embrace tools and technologies that are rooted in robust scientific foundations. With better science guiding our way, we have a stronger foundation upon which to build a future where agriculture and environmental stewardship go hand in hand.

Picture of Kaia Waxenberg

Kaia Waxenberg

An Agricultural Systems Modeller with a strong background in farm ecology and emissions modelling, Kaia maintains, updates, and builds upon the Agrecalc greenhouse gas emissions calculator, communicating with stakeholders about the science behind the software, and working with our development team to build new modules and features.

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Need expert guidance with your carbon footprinting? Get in touch with the Agrecalc team.

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