No need to cut beef to tackle climate crisis, say farmers

(The Guardian, 10 Sep 2019) NFU says growing fuel for power stations and capturing CO2 can slash emissions.

Farming can become climate neutral by 2040 without cutting beef production or converting substantial areas of farmland into forest, according to a plan published by the National Farmers’ Union.

Instead, the NFU says three-quarters of the UK’s agricultural emissions can be offset by growing fuel for power stations and then capturing and burying the carbon dioxide, which could lead to energy plants becoming the nation’s biggest crop after wheat. Increasing the carbon stored in soils and using technology to reduce the emissions caused by cattle and fertiliser use are also needed, the NFU says.

Agriculture causes about 10% of the UK’s climate-heating emissions; 90% is methane from livestock and nitrous oxide from fields. The UK is committed to ending net emissions by 2050, but sectors such as farming and aviation are the biggest challenges.

Minette Batters, the president of the NFU, said making the sector climate neutral would be tough but an ambitious plan was necessary or society would not forgive farmers. She said farmers understood better than most that climate change was the biggest challenge of our time.

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The Guardian, 10 Sep 2019: No need to cut beef to tackle climate crisis, say farmers