Climate Change Committee Launch New Report
24 April 2013
For the first time the Climate Change Committee has included a detailed section on greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture in a carbon footprint report launched today. Although there has been a slight drop in C02e emissions from UK farming over the last two decades, there has been a significant overall increase in emissions as a result of increases in food imports.
Commenting at the launch of the report in the House of Commons, Tim Yeo MP, Chair of the House of Commons Select Committee on Energy and Climate Change said that “agriculture has escaped attention” from those concerned about climate change. He added “agriculture seems to get away with uniquely soft treatment and I don’t think that will last much longer”.
Responding to his comment, when questioned by Peter Melchett, Soil Association Policy Director, David Kennedy, Climate Change Committee Chief Executive, said that the Climate Change Committee has identified the actions that agriculture needs to take (these include greater use of Nitrogen-fixing legumes to reduce use of manufactured Nitrogen fertiliser). David Kennedy added that it was “questionable whether changes are happening in practice” and that “the evidence base is weak”. He added that the Climate Change Committee is continuing “to monitor very closely” actions taken by the farming industry. Lord Deben (John Gummer), Chair of the Climate Change Committee added that agriculture has “got to have the same treatment as other industries” and that farming has a “major contribution to make”.
Peter Melchett said; “the Soil Association welcomes this report and welcomes the increased focus on the climate change impact of UK agriculture and imported food. We agree with the Climate Change Committee that greater use of legumes to fix Nitrogen from the atmosphere represents a major step that farming can take to reduce its impact on the climate.
“Farmers in the UK are certainly being increasingly affected by extreme weather, and the industry needs to do more to reduce the emissions that cause climate change. The Soil Association has been working with farmers to calculate their carbon footprint and develop new farming practices through our Low Carbon Farming project. The project supports and guides farmers in tackling the challenging task of reducing carbon emissions and improving the environmental sustainability of farm businesses.”
For press enquiries contact the Soil Association press office:
Natasha Collins-Daniel, Press Office Manager – 0117 914 2448 / 07827 925380