The Climate Change Committee (CCC) has published a new report on 23 Jan 2020 – “Land Use: Policies for a Net Zero UK”.

Farming and land use are under the spotlight like never before.

The 23 Jan 2020 CCC report will be a major influence on what farmers will be rewarded for doing to adapt to climate change. The Soil Association are calling for nature to be given equal emphasis in shaping the future of post-Brexit farm support, as farming and land use is also the primary driver of global insect decline and the biodiversity crash.

What does the CCC report say?

Our diets need to change and we need to eat ‘less and better’ meat and ‘more and better’ plants, a tree planting (agroforestry) revolution, and good agronomy practices rather than intensification of farming. The Committee also makes clear that delivering emissions reduction should not be at the expense of increasing food imports that risk ‘carbon leakage’.

What could the Climate Change Committee report do better?

The Soil Association state that Nature is not at the heart of this climate-led land use plan. The CCC needs to join the dots between climate, nature and land degradation as all three are equally important to human wellbeing.

The UK’s State of Nature 2019 report and global evidence of insect decline has underlined the importance of pesticide reduction and a shift away from monocultures to more mixed farming to restore abundant farmland wildlife and soil life.

In response, Jo Lewis, Soil Association Policy Director, said:

“We welcome the Climate Change Committee’s call for farmer-led tree planting, as well as their warning against further intensification of farming. But
with the global insect decline and wider biodiversity crisis, much more is needed to make nature central to climate action.

 “To join the dots between climate, nature and land degradation, government must support all farms to transition to agroecological farming methods, pioneered by organic farmers, which work with nature and minimise chemical reliance.

While the Committee is right to say that our diets need to change it should go further to recommend ‘less but better’ meat, sourced from organic farms, and an end to intensively farmed meat..”

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