Farming leaders across the UK have warned that the industry must not be sacrificed in order to meet greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets in the wake of the latest report from the Committee on Climate Change.
In its latest publication, Reducing UK emissions – 2018 Progress Report to Parliament, amongst other things, the Committee warned that large reductions in emissions from power generation had masked a lack of progress in other sectors, including agriculture, and that the sector now accounted for 10 per cent of total UK GHG emissions.
Excluding transport, agricultural greenhouse gas emissions were 46.5 MtCO2e in 2016, broadly unchanged from 2015. Emissions are 16 per cent lower than in 1990, but there has been no progress in reducing emissions in this sector since 2008. Around half come from livestock, and a quarter from soil management, with the rest coming from manure management and machinery.
However, Jim McLaren of Quality Meat Scotland said, “Setting a legal net zero target now would require 16,000 ha of woodland planting per year, the use of GM crop technology and zero livestock production.” He added that current methods for assessing agricultural GHG emissions are “not fit for purpose.”
The post New emissions targets could cripple farming appeared first on Hort News on 9 July 2018.
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has published its latest progress report, which includes an assessment of the effects of climate change in UK farmland.
In particular the report highlighted the risk of erosion to some of the UK’s most productive, but fragile soils, such as the Fens in East Anglia. In particular the authors call on the Government to: ‘Preserve and enhance the country’s natural capital, in order to sustain agriculture productivity in a changing climate, maximise carbon sequestration, and safeguard the economic and amenity benefits the natural environment provides.’ This should include ‘firm measures to preserve the fertility and organic content of important agricultural soils, to achieve the stated goal for all soils to be sustainably managed by 2030.’
Commenting on the report, NFU vice-president Guy Smith said, “This report, highlighting how productive land is at risk, demonstrates the need to retain funding in voluntary initiatives such as Campaign for the Farmed Environment (CFE) to incentivise and support farmers who want to be leaders in protecting soils.”
Trevor Mansfield, head of policy at the Soil Association added, “For the first time, this report highlights the critical red list status of British soils, threatening our climate and future food production. The Soil Association supports the Committee’s call on government to implement measures to protect organic matter in agricultural soils.” He also echoed warnings in the report about the effect that increased maize production could have on soil erosion during adverse weather.
The post Climate Change Committee highlights risk to farmland appeared first on Hort News.