As the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) holds its Climate Change Summit, CLA President Tim Breitmeyer said:
“Climate change is now widely accepted as fact, backed by a mass of scientific data. Organisations such as the United Nations predict we have just 12 years to ensure average global temperatures do not rise by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. If they do, the effects could be catastrophic.
“However, we are already seeing real and tangible impacts. Our weather patterns have changed dramatically over the last 20 years, with extremes of temperature for lengthy periods, the increased risk of flooding and drought and the arrival of new pests and diseases for crops, trees and livestock. All of these have significant impacts on farmers, landowners and rural businesses. Those business owners that build climate change resilience into their business models, will be the ones best placed to tackle the challenges climate change will present for business stability and profitability.
“Farming currently contributes an estimated 10% of total UK greenhouse gas emissions and, along with other significant emitters like the airline industry, we must seek to combat the negative effects of our industry on the climate.
“However, there is also significant opportunity. Landowners and farmers must be recognised as leaders in achieving the net zero emissions target for the UK economy by 2050, which will not be reached without a key role for the land use sector. This can be through reducing emissions by promoting the most sustainable farming practices and systems, planting trees and better managing existing woodland or restoring peatland and maintaining permanent pasture. This will require long term government support supplemented by new private environmental payments, to ensure increasing planting of trees and the uptake of technological solutions for water management and emissions reduction.
“Our Summit sets out these opportunities and challenges presented by climate change and there is little doubt those businesses that recognise these messages at an early stage, will build resilience to survive and thrive in years to come.”