IPCC report: food and farming needs to tackle climate change
Monday 8 October
This week a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) set out that urgent changes are needed if global warming is to be kept to a maximum of 1.5C and avoid the risk of worsening drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty.
The Soil Association is urging for radical action to take place now to ensure the food and farming sector reduces its greenhouse gas emissions.
Liz Bowles, head of farming at the Soil Association, said: “The IPCC report shows that the world is not on track to avoiding devastating climate impacts to every aspect of human society, and underlines the fact that urgent and radical action is needed to cut emissions from agriculture.
“Climate change should be a top priority for Defra ministers, so it’s deeply worrying that just one line of the Agriculture Bill refers to the possibility of future support for cutting greenhouse gas emissions - particularly considering the recent Committee on Climate Change report which concluded there has been no progress in cutting agricultural emissions for the last decade.
“The government now urgently needs to prioritise support for widespread adoption of farming methods proven to reduce emissions and store more carbon in soils, such as organic farming and agroforestry.
“A shift towards less but better meat and dairy consumption and production is also needed, alongside dramatic cuts to food waste and a focus on shortening supply chains.
“The IPCC report shows there is clearly a need for far-reaching action in the next few years as well as a target requiring farming to reach net zero emissions before 2050 within the Agriculture Bill.
“The government must also rethink future trade policy, which could involve major risks of imports produced to lower environmental and animal welfare standards undercutting UK farmers, whilst also exporting as much as possible to far flung countries with no regard for the resulting additional carbon emissions.
“It’s clear there’s a huge need for robust environmental and public health measures to be added to the Agriculture Bill and a new farm support system fit for the 21st century – one which enhances natural resources, helps mitigate and adapt to climate change, allows all wildlife to flourish and produces a wide range of nutritious foods.”
Read our blog for more on the agricultural and dietary changes needed to reduce emissions.