The introduction of a Climate Change Bill in the Queen's Speech
has been hailed as a great opportunity for UK agriculture to help
deliver a more sustainable UK society and economy.
Speaking after the announcement NFU President Peter Kendall
said the Bill was a great opportunity for British farmers to
help reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions. He also highlighted
A positive step in encouraging renewable bioenergy and gaining
a consensus for a joined up government delivery of the Energy
White paper in March 2007 and heeding the warnings of the Stern
And a real challenge to live up to expectations to reverse the
previous disappointments of missed targets, through the setting
of realistic but accountable short and medium term targets which
are independently assessed and reported upon, with a rigorous
cross-departmental joined up approach.
Mr Kendall said: “There is a great opportunity for British
agriculture to engage and help achieve Government climate change
targets, through the production of bioenergy from crops, woodland
“What is needed, however, is positive and tangible signals
to ensure there is confidence to invest in these sectors. British
agriculture can play a crucial role in reducing UK emissions
and mitigating climate change effects - but it needs real Government
commitment to maximise these potential benefits.”
Support for renewables and renewable infrastructure, low carbon
technologies and recognition of the importance of a secure energy
supply was also acknowledged by the NFU. But it called for a
balance of energy resources in which bioenergy plays a crucial
role and is not overlooked in the race for wind, solar, hydrogen
and nuclear options.
In addition the NFU believes the announcement of further development
of emission trading schemes offers great potential for agriculture
in the long term but says lessons must be learnt from the failures
of the EU emissions’ trading scheme and previous uncompetitive
unregulated allocation across member states.
The NFU also acknowledges the opportunities for renewable energy
production around the world as a development tool, but UK producers
who conform to highly regulated standards and levels of assurance
should not be unfairly disadvantaged by any such schemes.
Long term climate change targets have previously been missed
raising concerns over the 60 per cent reduction by 2050. The
Government dropped the 20 per cent carbon emission target by
2010 in 2006, despite being in the 1997 manifesto and policy
for nine years. Emissions have risen five out of last eight years
and emissions are now higher than in 1997.
Any targets need to involve stakeholders to ensure there is
a cost effective sector specific plan to meet these targets.
Currently regulation arbitrarily affects horticulture, pigs and
poultry while other sectors of society such as aviation are left
Agriculture has the means to provide solutions for climate change,
and can offer a large number of mitigation options including
growing renewable fuels, storing carbon in their soils and vegetation
and by producing biogas from digesters.
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