Farming unions united at COP26

Published 03 November 2021

Climate change and renewables Environment
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UK farming union presidents have called for support for a sustainable and productive future for agriculture at the COP26 UN climate summit in Glasgow.

The four main UK farming union presidents, Minette Batters NFU, John Davies NFU Cymru, Martin Kennedy NFU Scotland and Victor Chestnutt of the Ulster Farmers’ Union call upon the UK government and the devolved administrations together with all of the leaders worldwide, to support a sustainable and productive future for agriculture. All unions agreed that we need to grow our ability to produce climate-friendly food at the same time as protecting nature and the planet.

Farmers on the frontline 

Agriculture in the UK is a uniquely versatile sector, which supplies food, captures and stores carbon and helps to generate clean energy. 

But our farmers are also on the frontline of climate change impacts, being particularly vulnerable to extreme weather events.

We want agriculture’s role in taking action on climate change while producing for the future to be widely recognised, at COP26 and beyond.

Many farmers already on net zero journeys 

Our industry is also unique in the nature of its greenhouse gas emissions from food production. Farmers harness inherently variable, biological processes in our crops, livestock and soils.

Many of our farmers and growers have already embarked upon their own journeys to net zero, but we must be supported in partnership with government and industry to produce more with less environmental impact.

No silver bullets

There are no ‘silver bullets’. It is vital that agriculture, land use and biodiversity policies are practical and properly funded, with a portfolio of measures across many different farm types, including a fair share of water and better protection of agricultural land from flooding.

It is by adopting a holistic approach to farming – considering food production, biodiversity, landscapes and communities alongside climate mitigation – that will ensure a just transition to net zero farming in the future.

The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) is taking place in Glasgow from 31 October – 12 November 2021. The COP26 summit brings parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. 

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