The following is a statement by all UK farming union presidents for the 2015 UN climate summit in Paris. You can keep up-to-date with all of our #COP21 work here.
Agriculture is unique. It supplies food, stores carbon and generates renewable energy. Farming is on the frontline of climate change impacts, being particularly vulnerable to extreme weather events.
However agriculture in the UK has significant potential to address the challenge of producing for the future as well as tackling climate change.
The emissions profile of agriculture is fundamentally different from that of other sectors because greenhouse gases are emitted from inherently variable, biological processes linked to all kinds of agricultural production.
Producing more with less is key; through more efficient use of inputs and reduced environmental impact, but there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. Farming needs a fair share of water and better protection of agricultural land from flooding, in order to give farmers the confidence to invest for an increasingly uncertain future.
The UK Farming Unions (NFU, NFUS, UFU and NFU Cymru) call upon the UK Government and the Devolved Administrations, together with European and world leaders to acknowledge the unique capacity within the agricultural sector for tackling climate change, feeding a growing population and providing a range of other ecosystem services as the climate changes.
Our key asks
- Advance improvements in farm productivity and efficiency, where appropriate through sustainable intensification, in order to enhance agriculture’s resilience and reduce its greenhouse gas footprint.
- Strengthen research that supports the land-based sector, and ensure that developments and breakthroughs are effectively and rapidly translated into commercially viable advice for farmers.
- Unlock the huge potential contribution of land-based renewables to national energy security, including solar, wind, mini-hydro, anaerobic digestion and other forms of sustainable bioenergy, recognising the substantial diversification income opportunity that renewable energy brings.
- Ensure that carbon accounting systems ‘credit’ the added mitigation benefits that agriculture can deliver, through carbon storage and renewable energy export.
- Use sound scientific evidence when including agriculture in future national and international climate agreements.
- Recognise the complex economic and public policy goals for agriculture that exist beyond climate change adaptation and mitigation.