Climate Change Remains Priority for 2020

NFU Scotland looks to work with industry to drive farmer focussed policy around climate change

As Scotland gets set to host the COP26 event next year in Glasgow, NFU Scotland has marked climate change as one of its top priorities for 2020 as it looks to work with farmers, crofters and the government to create and implement workable climate change policies.

With legislation now in place in Scotland to achieve challenging reductions in emissions, NFUS is gearing up to enable all farmers and crofters to make a positive contribution to these goals.

It is imperative that any mitigations and policies put in place are supported by scientific evidence and consider the impacts on the long-term sustainability of farming and food production in Scotland. Scotland’s farmers and crofters need to be part of the solution, not the scapegoats.

NFU Scotland have recently appointed Ruth Taylor as Climate Change Policy Manager, showing the Union’s commitment to prioritising climate change and demonstrating that agriculture is part of the solution to climate change. Ruth has recently returned from COP25 in Madrid and will lead industry preparations for COP26 in Glasgow next year.  

This appointment is on top of the Union’s work with the Farming for 1.5 degrees project as well as the ongoing partnership with Scottish Environment, Food and Agriculture Research Institutes (SEFARI).

As part of the Farming for 1.5 degrees project, NFU Scotland has been working with Nourish Scotland to answer the question: ‘How can we secure a bright future for our food, farming and land use sectors which is compatible with a climate neutral Scotland?’

The project will propose measures for reducing greenhouse gas emissions while continuing to produce high quality food. It will produce a consensus report which will set a road map for action; develop templates for action at individual business level; identify necessary areas of funding and legislation, and gaps in existing knowledge.
The co-chairs of the group, former NFUS President Nigel Miller and Mike Robinson, Chief Executive Royal Scottish Geographical Society will present a paper at the Union’s conference and AGM in Glasgow on Thursday 6 February 2020.

The partnership with SEFARI has seen Dr Gemma Miller commence a fellowship with the Union as she conducts research to answer key questions that the industry has about agriculture and climate change, greenhouse gas emissions and carbon accounting.  Dr Miller has sought to identify key facts and figures which can be used to balance the negative rhetoric which has been aimed at the agricultural industry recently. She has already produced blogs on the impact of methane emission, and the difficulty of accounting for methane.

Vice President Martin Kennedy said: “COP25 in Madrid didn’t meet the desirable outcomes it was supposed to achieve according to those who will still not look at the bigger picture.

 “Our whole industry right now is currently, with massive help from SEFARI, developing the fact-based calculations that will give us the truth about our carbon sequestration and the agricultural industry’s ability to be part of the solution.

“Up to now, we cannot and will not be allowed to count the positive contribution agriculture makes regarding carbon sequestration within the rules of the IPCC inventory which was agreed in 2006. The calculation for the inventory itself will simply not change. However, we can run a twin track approach which relates to the positive contribution agriculture makes, therefore offsetting the emissions we are producing.

“All the positives we build in Scotland must stay in Scotland, we are in front when it comes to sustainable food production which also delivers massively to our environment and biodiversity.

“COP26 in Glasgow next year gives us a huge opportunity to highlight how green we already are, and by then we will have much more fact-based evidence that proves how green we are. Although there’s still more agriculture can do to help, I suspect that when all the calculations are done, we may find that Scottish agriculture is already carbon positive.

“Now that’s some marketing tool.”  


Contact Douglas Ross on 0131 472 4059

Author: Douglas Ross

Date Published:

News Article No.: 177/19

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About The Author

Douglas Ross

As a graduate in Multimedia Journalism from Glasgow Caledonian University, NFU Scotland’s Communications Assistant Douglas Ross understands how important the media is for communicating with members. As the son of a Highlands farmer, Douglas has been involved in the industry his entire life before joining NFU Scotland in 2017.

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