environmental Rural

The Net-Zero Challenge – What are the implications for land use?

Q3 2019

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The government has committed to the UK becoming net-zero in terms of carbon emissions by 2050. With the agricultural sector a net contributor to climate change because of the level of greenhouse gases it produces, this will have implications for land use on farms and estates. Our poster summarises the recommendations of the Committee on Climate Change’s report, Land Use: Reducing emissions and preparing for climate change.

A number of its recommendations are very challenging for the industry and would lead to significant structural change. However, we feel that this is a significant report given the CCC’s role as independent advisor to the government on how to prepare for climate and the increasing recognition that there is a climate and biodiversity crisis that needs to be addressed very quickly.

The main conclusion of the report is that national goals for climate change mitigation and adaptation are unlikely to be met without fundamental changes to the way land is used and managed.

It says that new land use policy should promote transformational land uses and reward land managers for public goods that deliver climate mitigation and adaptation objectives. New policies should also reflect better the value of the goods and services that land provides. The changes that are needed will vary across the UK, requiring careful policy implementation. Support should be provided to help land managers transition to alternative land uses.

A second report will be published by the CCC in 2019 to help develop a new land management system. Alternative approaches to reducing emissions from farming have been suggested by the NFU and others, which we are sure will be debated as policy develops.

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