Climate Change Net-Zero report: How does agriculture fit in?


CLA Land Use Policy Adviser Alice Ritchie comments on the recently published Net Zero report and the impact of new targets on the world of agriculture.  


This week the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) published their report Net-Zero: The UK’s contribution to stopping global warming. Climate change has been all over the news in the last couple of weeks with teen climate campaigner Greta Thunberg’s visit to the UK, the widely-supported Extinction Rebellion protests and David Attenborough’s Our Planet streaming on Netflix. Much of this discourse has centred around the absolute necessity of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the middle of the century. 

The CCC’s report, outlining specific ways the UK can get there, is therefore particularly timely. Quite rightly, they make the point that not all greenhouse gases are created equal: reducing carbon dioxide is the priority, while methane and nitrous oxide, the two gases associated most with agriculture, must be reduced, but not eliminated.  

While news that we must reduce our emissions will come as no shock to most, the speed and scale of the change needed can seem pretty overwhelming. It’s definitely not all bad news for farmers and landowners in the UK. The CCC is calling for new agriculture policy to reward farmers for efforts to reduce emissions and sequester carbon, including through farm management practices, tree-planting, energy crops and natural regeneration. 

The CLA is committed to being involved in the climate conversation and helping our members both reduce emissions and improve productivity. On 2 July this year, we are hosting a summit called ‘Climate Change: Risk or Opportunity?’ where Lord Deben, the chair of the CCC, will be speaking, along with plenty of other experts. This summit will provide you with all the information you need to understand how climate change will impact farming and how we can continue to produce the high-quality food we are known for, whilst reducing our impact on the environment. You can buy your tickets here.