Author: Matt Cawood
Via: farm Weekly
THE business of growing, supply and consuming food in the United Kingdom creates about 30 per cent of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new report.
Joint contributors to the study, “How Low Can We Go”, the Food Climate Research Network (FCRN) and WWF, say that driving down this emissions profile will need to go further than just technological solutions, but also address how and what the UK population eats.
Two-thirds of UK emissions are related to the food supply chain, the study found, with the remaining third due to land-use changes like deforestation.
The authors considered all food-related emissions sources, including those generated from food imports into the UK. About three-quarters of land-use change emissions were considered to come from the production of beef and sheepmeat, mostly overseas.
For the UK food industry to play a meaningful role in the UK’s desire to cut total emissons by 80 per cent by 2050, the report’s authors argue that the sector’s own emissions need to fall by 70 per cent in the same time frame.
“… a focus on one solution only will not lead to the reductions that are needed,” the report’s introduction says.
“Single measures, such as the elimination of meat and dairy products from our diet, or the decarbonisation of the supply chain, or the development of technologies to eliminate enteric methane emissions will not by themselves cut emissions by 70 per cent.”
“If the UK food chain is to make a proportionate contribution to the UK’s target … then policy makers will need to put in place a combination of measures that change not only how we produce and consume food, but also what it is we consume.”
The report calls for collaboration between producers, processors, retailers, NGOs and government in implementing across-the-board change in the food system.
The report sprang out of a 2008 study by the FCRN, which found that food supply and consumption accounted for 19 per cent of UK emissions.
The new report expanded on this figure by including agriculturally driven land-use changes in the UK and overseas.