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Land use: Reducing emissions and preparing for climate change

Current land use patterns in the UK are not sustainable, according to this report from the UK’s Committee on Climate Change. The report claims that, if current farming trends continue, there will not be enough land in the UK to both meet future settlement needs and maintain current levels of per capita food production. The report also predicts significant negative effects of climate change on soils, water, vegetation and wildlife.

These are some of the report’s conclusions:

  • Using better soil and livestock management could reduce emissions, but still leave agriculture as one of the largest emitting sectors.
  • Deep emissions cuts, roughly 35-80% by 2050 compared to 2016, would require increasing forest cover, restoring peatlands, catchment-sensitive farming and agricultural diversification.
  • Land can be released for other uses through changing both production and consumption patterns, e.g. using government guidelines to reduce consumption of beef, lamb and dairy.
  • Land managers should be supported with skills, training and information to switch to new land uses.

Read the full report here and see media coverage here: Climate change: Report says 'cut lamb and beef' (BBC). See also the Foodsource resource Food systems and greenhouse gas emissions.

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