Farmers scapegoated in carbon emissions debate, says TFA boss

Farmers are being scapegoated in the discussions on lowering carbon emissions when larger issues lie elsewhere, the pinnacle of the Tenant Farmers Association (TFA) has mentioned.

George Dunn spoke out on farmer-bashing following the publication of a landmark report by the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) UK – Land of Plenty (PDF) – which recommends a minimum of a 30% discount in meat and dairy consumption by 2030 to curb carbon emissions.

He instructed Farmers Weekly that the WWF’s name to shift manufacturing programs and diets away from crimson meat to scale back emissions “lacks credibility” as UK agriculture is accountable for solely 10% of the nation’s whole carbon emissions, whereas transport and vitality account for greater than half of whole UK emissions.

See additionally: Towards Net Zero: How to scale back emissions and retailer carbon

“We should put all of our efforts into decarbonising those sectors rather than seeking to pillory our livestock farmers who are already producing to high levels of carbon efficiency,” mentioned Mr Dunn.

“Livestock farmers are also responsible for storing and sequestering carbon every day of the week through their careful grassland management as well as sustaining landscapes, biodiversity and the wider environment – they deserve our support, not our criticism.”

Problems ‘lie elsewhere’

Mr Dunn added that farmers have been being made scapegoats in the carbon debate when the issues “clearly lie elsewhere”. 

A greater answer, he instructed, could be to induce UK shoppers to change their consumption away from imported meat produced to decrease carbon requirements, and in the direction of domestically produced meat. 

“We could do this by taxing carbon at our border and through our standards in trade,” mentioned Mr Dunn. 

“Eating more meat and dairy products from UK sources to offset what we import to reduce our carbon footprint will also save the carbon emitted through the transportation used to bring in imported product from abroad – surely that is a win-win situation.”

NFU deputy president Stuart Roberts instructed The Guardian that UK livestock manufacturing programs have been a lot decrease emitters than these abroad. Domestic emissions from beef and dairy have been lower than half the worldwide common, he mentioned.

“If we reduced sustainable production here, it would only export our carbon footprint to countries which don’t meet our own high environmental standards, and risk seeing food imports reduced to standards that would be illegal here,” he added.

“This, alongside assumptions that heavily processed and imported plant-based alternatives are always better for the environment, could be devastating for global climate ambitions.”

‘Less but better’ meat

Vicki Hird, head of sustainable farming on the campaigning organisation Sustain, mentioned the federal government should encourage British farmers to farm extra sustainably and undertake a “less but better” method to meat manufacturing.

“The government could help by incentivising the production of sustainable, pasture-fed beef and only choosing less but better meat and more plants in public procurement contracts,” she mentioned.

“The government spends £2bn a year on food and could be a lot smarter and do a lot more good with what it buys.”

The WWF report additionally requires UK agriculture to slash its use of imported soya feed and fertiliser inputs, by a minimum of 31% by 2030 and 57% by 2050 from 2018 ranges.

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