UK Agriculture contributed 10 per cent to total greenhouse gas emissions in 2018 – including 70 per cent of nitrous oxide emissions and nearly half of total methane emissions. As such, it has a key role to play in helping the UK meet its Net Zero emissions target by 2050, according to a new report by UCL’s Institute for Sustainable Resources.
Achieving Net Zero in agriculture is challenging and will require steps to both reduce emissions and capture and store carbon through soils and forests. These twin methods of reduction and sequestration give UK agriculture a unique and vital position for contributing to the UK Net Zero ambition.
This report was written by University College London in collaboration with HSBC. Significant changes are already affecting the UK Agriculture sector, including policy shift, extreme weather and shifting consumer preferences related to carbon intensity of food. Taking these factors into account, the report calls for a just transition to a Net Zero framework, where every farmer or land manager can access the opportunities. This will, it says, require public and policy support, technological innovation and ambition.
The report sets out clear steps for farm businesses to get started on their journey to Net Zero by providing practical considerations, insights from farm businesses, and the potential productivity gains from implementing a net zero strategy. Improved farm management, renewable energy use, habitat protection and technology are the key levers to operationalise net-zero goals.