Blog: Farmers 'too shy' on climate issues

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ceris jones, square crop_275_259Ceris Jones is the NFU’s climate change adviser and a World Farming Organisation facilitator.

She writes:

Some might say that the twenty first climate talks in Paris in December have a lot in common with the film, ‘Monte Carlo or bust!’  

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Both involve epic journeys and a lot of eccentric characters from all over the world (196 countries to be exact). And the prize? In Paris, it’s a new global agreement to tackle climate change.If this doesn’t happen, then science suggests we’ve lost our last chance to keep the global temperature increase to an average of below 2oC.

So why should farmers be bothered? Hasn’t the climate always changed and don’t attempts to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) just mean more paperwork? The problem is, farmers are too shy about the good story they have to tell.

quote mark graphic for web use_63_66Why wouldn’t we want to shout about these things from the (solar-PV covered) rooftops?

If the aim of our businesses is to improve productivity and to become more efficient, then we’re already doing our bit to reduce GHGs. If we’re generating renewable energy, and using it on our own farms, then we’re reducing our carbon footprint. If we’re exporting the surplus to the grid then we’re tackling the footprint of the rest of the economy. 

Why wouldn’t we want to shout about these things from the (solar-PV covered) rooftops?

And when it comes to the weather, it never ceases to amaze me how resilient farmers can be.Mother nature throws what she can at us, knocks us down, gives us grey hairs, then we pick ourselves up and start again.

So what is it that we need to make our businesses more resilient to future climatic volatility - is it about making it easier to build reservoirs or protecting our land from flooding? Asking for these things makes good sense regardless of whether you think the climate is changing as a result of human activity or not.

And ask and shout the NFU does. Along with our allies in COPA-COGECA and in the World Farmers Organisation, we think it’s critical that farming’s voice is heard on this important international stage because it is us who are going to feed and fuel the growing global population. 

That’s why I’m working in the Brussels office for a few weeks, making the most of the fantastic connections it has with all things European. I’ve just become the facilitator of the WFO’s new climate change group, working with other farming unions across the world so that the message from developed and developing country farmers on climate change is the same.

And that’s why together, we will all be supporting a Farming Day at the Paris Summit, so our industry’s voice is heard prominently amid the din of hundreds of others.


Last edited on: 09:06:2015

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  • Posted by: John LambkinPosted on: 05/11/2015 15:36:12

    Comment: Ceris Jones asks "why should farmers be bothered", when referring to the aspirations for a new global agreement to tackle climate change in Paris next month. Perhaps the more pertinent question is one posed by author and journalist Matt Ridley in a recent essay entitled "The Climate Wars & The Damage to Science", namely,"can a doubling of the concentration of a normally harmless, indeed moderately beneficial gas from 0.03% of the atmosphere to 0.06% of the atmosphere over the course of a century, change the global climate sufficiently to require drastic and painful political action today?" Without CO2 our planet would die and agriculture and food production with it. Let's open the debate and hear both sides of the argument,climate change is not what concerns me, it's the over reaction of politicians, policy makers, alarmists and the bullying of green activists anxious to take advantage of lucrative grants and funding. Driving emissions down may well reduce us all to poverty long before the planet warms sufficiently to make a difference to our long term survival.
  • Posted by: Andrew BevanPosted on: 27/11/2015 16:54:29

    Comment: Majority of farmers believe climate change is natural like me. I like most farmers love to save costs on fuel and heating but are not worried by CO2, the more the better as far as I am concerned as it has a beneficial effect on growth of crops.

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