Farmers’ climate change targets on track

Farmers and growers are on track to deliver the UK’s climate change targets, said the NFU – but it warned against negative regulation that might stifle progress.

A recent progress report from the Climate Change Committee (CCC) has higlighted the gradual downward trend of UK agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and provided evidence that emissions intensities within the sector are improving.

While GHG emissions from the farming sector have fallen 21% since 1990, the committee said that scientific uncertainties associated with agricultural emissions needed to be resolved. It also said that further policies could provide incentives to reduce emissions further.

NFU climate change adviser Ceris Jones said: “The agriculture industry’s Action Plan (GHGAP) is one of a range of initiatives that are already helping farmers to produce more while impacting less. The CCC’s initial analysis reinforces the progress being made, as it shows that higher levels of productivity in some sectors have been achieved with fewer emissions.

“Agriculture has a history of engagement in voluntary initiatives and the effect of regulation is often negative. Therefore, the industry is committed to making a success of the GHGAP. We are pleased that the Committee has recognised the contribution that on-farm anaerobic digestion could make in reducing emissions and suggests the need for appropriate support.”

The government wants to cut greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture by three million tonnes of CO2 per year from 2018-2022, without compromising domestic production.


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