Deputy Director


Kerstin Martens
Institute of Farm Economics

Bundesallee 63
38116 Braunschweig
Phone: +49 531 596 5102
Fax: +49 531 596 5199

Agriculture and GHG Emissions – using the CAPRI-model to assess European agriculture


Frühsommer-Farben (c) Oliver Mohr /
Frühsommer-Farben (© Oliver Mohr /

Improving the quantification of GHG emissions and flows of reactive nitrogen (IDEAg-NG)

What is agriculture’s role in climate change dynamics? The contribution of European agriculture to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is second only to the energy sector and is expected to grow. On the one hand, current EU efforts to decarbonize the European economy will be the main drivers of such developments. On the other hand, agriculture can play a crucial role in climate change mitigation. This project aims at providing a comprehensive quantitative assessment of relevant emission flows in order to highlight agriculture’s impacts on climate change and investigate possible positive contributions by agriculture to mitigation efforts.

Background and Objective

More than 90% of ammonia emissions and overall more than 50% of emissions of reactive nitrogen to the atmosphere and hydrosphere are of agricultural origin. National GHG inventories for agriculture provide estimates for non-CO2 emissions of methane and nitrous oxide form sources such as enteric fermentation, manure management, agricultural soils etc.

In order to provide a quantitative assessment of flows of GHG emissions and reactive nitrogen from agricultural sources in Europe, the CAPRI (Common Agricultural Policy Regionalized Impact) model is employed. By capturing the close relationship between processes and activities controlling the emissions of GHG and reactive nitrogen, relevant CAPRI modules allow a consistent and comprehensive accounting of these flows. This serves as a basis for further analyses of key indicators for agro-environmental evaluations at the regional and global level.

For the submission of the 2015 inventories new guidelines by the IPCC (2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories) are to be used. These guidelines require several changes in emission factors and calculation procedures as well as emission source categorization.

The objectives of the IDEAg-NG project are therefore to:

  • Update and improve the CAPRI modeling system to ensure a consistent assessment of GHG emission and nitrogen flows.
  • Facilitate a direct comparison of the CAPRI results with the data reported in the national inventories and thus allow for a comprehensive assessment of Europe’s agricultural emission balances.


To fulfill the project’s objective several tasks are envisaged:

  • Database update and code revision for the creation of a regional time series in CAPRI with respect to agricultural land use, herd sizes and production.
  • Revision and update of modules relevant for GHG emission and nitrogen flows in CAPRI.
  • Development of a methodology to derive farm management information linked to the spatial distribution of farms for improving the estimation of agro-environmental indicators.

Data and Methods

Database update, code revision and updating of relevant modules in CAPRI will be conducted following provisions of the IPCC guidelines. This will include such tasks as the consideration of CO2 emissions from liming and urea application as well as the development of a ready-to-use interface that allows comparing GHG estimates from CAPRI with national inventory data. Furthermore a methodology will be developed to improve the estimation of agro-environmental indicators in CAPRI. This methodology will be based on farm management information included in agricultural surveys such as the Survey on Agricultural Production Methods (SAPM) of 2010 and data from the Farm Structure Survey (FSS). To allow for a more comprehensive assessment, the farm management information will be linked to locational information such as geographical and high-resolution micro data.

Our Research Questions

  • How comparable are CAPRI emission data to the data supplied in national inventories?
  • How and to what extent are agro-environmental indicators improved by the provision of a more detailed spatial allocation of farming activities?


Involved external Thünen-Partners

  • Joint Research Centre, Institute for Environment & Sustainability
    (Ispra, Italien)


8.2015 - 9.2017

More Information

Projekt type:
Project status: ongoing

Publications to the project

hits: 1

  1. Marquardt S, Gocht A, Leip A (2016) Comparison of national inventories with EU-wide calculations with the CAPRI model. In: Danila AM, Fernandez R, Ntemiri S, Mandl N, Rigler E (eds) Annual European Union greenhouse gas inventory 1990-2014 and inventory report 2016. Bruxelles: European Commission, pp 530-540