COP28 discussions must lead to actions, NFU says

28 November 2023

Flooded fields with trees and hedges under water

It’s time to move forward from discussions to implementing actions at scale to tackle the climate crisis – that’s the message from the NFU to the UK government as the Prime Minister meets other world leaders at COP28 in Dubai this week. 

The NFU is calling on the UK government to urgently implement practical, progressive policies that will support the net zero transition and help British farmers adapt to a changing climate, so they can continue to provide nutritious, climate-friendly food for people at home and abroad. This includes policies such as supporting carbon auditing on farms, standardising carbon calculators and investing in water management infrastructure.

The climate summit marks the end of a year which has seen record-breaking temperatures and extreme weather events wreak havoc on food production across the world, putting national and global food security at risk. As the sole representatives of British agriculture present at COP28, the NFU will be working with the World Farmers’ Organisation and other members of the Farmers’ Constituency to influence the negotiations.

NFU Deputy President Tom Bradshaw said: “Climate change is one of the biggest threats to global food security. More and more, farmers and growers across the world are facing severe weather events of drought, fires and flooding. As we speak, some British farms are still under water from the recent storms.

“Every year at COP, many policy conversations take place and many commitments are made. These are very important, but they have to lead to support for practical action on the ground.

“Take water as an example – our most precious resource. In the UK, we often have too much, yet outdated infrastructure does not enable us to easily store water for when we have too little. We need urgent investment in water management, both to protect farms and homes from flooding and to ensure water for food in times of drought.

“Farmers across the country are also ready and willing to help alleviate the risks of extreme weather events on their local communities, but they will need support to do this. Many farmers play a crucial role protecting nearby towns and villages from flooding by holding water on their land, and this public good has to be recognised and rewarded.

“British farmers can and want to be part of the solution. But we need the right government policies in place to help farm businesses invest in a sustainable future.”

More information:

In its own plan which outlines how British farming can transition to net zero by 2040, the NFU outlines three pillars around which it is urging the government to focus its policies:

  • Improving farming’s productive ef­ficiency
  • Increasing land-based carbon capture and storage
  • Boosting renewable energy and the wider bioeconomy