NFU: Outsourcing emissions will not solve global climate change challenge

The NFU has warned against outsourcing food production and reiterated farming’s ambition to become net zero in terms of emissions by 2040.

It comes as the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) recommendations suggest that the UK Government should reduce greenhouses gas emissions to zero by 2050.

NFU deputy president Guy Smith said improvements in productivity, carbon capture and renewable energy production are the most effective ways to reach agricultural net zero targets.

“The NFU is working towards an ambitious goal of reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions across the whole of agriculture in England and Wales by 2040, as a contribution to the CCC’s proposed 2050 target,” he said.

“Our organisations are aligned: Acting to tackle damaging climate change is vital.

We will not halt climate change by curbing British production and exporting it to countries which may not have the same environmental conscience, or ambition to reduce their climate impact.

“Rather, we must farm smarter, focussing on improving productivity, encouraging carbon capture and boosting our production of renewable energy.

“In Britain, 65% of our farmland is best suited to grazing animals, so our ambition is that the climate impact of UK grazing is amongst the lowest in the world.

“Already, research from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation shows that beef production in Western Europe is 2.5 times more carbon-efficient than the global average.

“At the same time, UK farmland conserves important carbon stocks in England’s uplands.

“British farmers have an important role to play in tackling climate change and our members are committed to this challenge, alongside fulfilling their responsibility to the public in providing high quality, sustainable and affordable food.”