UK farming chief calls for 'net zero' agriculture emissions by 2040
British farmers must aim to effectively cut out all greenhouse gas emissions within the next two decades, according to the head of the National Farmers’ Union (NFU).
In a speech at the Oxford Farming Conference, NFU president Minette Batters said such ambitious measures were essential to compete with other nations on green standards.
She said emissions must reach “net zero” by 2040, meaning any remaining gases produced are removed from the atmosphere.
Agriculture is a major contributor to climate change, and is responsible for 10 per cent of the UK’s greenhouse gases.
Farm emissions come not only from CO2, but also from methane and nitrous oxides released by livestock and fertilisers.
Ms Batters compared British farming favourably with other nations when it came to environmental credentials, but said British farmers must still strive to do better.
“The FAO [Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations] estimates UK beef production is 2.5 times more efficient than the world average, and compared with South America four times more efficient,” she said.
“Competitors in our market from Ireland to New Zealand have laid down the gauntlet, and I am here to pick it up today.