Climate emergency: Major changes in land use urged
Committee on Climate Change land use report: Friends of the Earth calls for more ambitious tree targets
Commenting on the Committee on Climate Change land use report published today (23rd January), Sandra Bell, campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said:
"The way land is used and abused has been a big contributor to climate breakdown and loss of wildlife and this is why it needs to change. It's good to see the CCC setting out more ambition for the government, but a lot of their measures just don't go far enough. The recommendations to support agroforestry and woodland creation are encouraging, but the target must be raised to double the UK's tree cover. To free up the necessary land for this we need to halve the amount of meat and dairy we produce and eat.
"The government needs to put proper funding behind these measures. Recommendations based on private funding must not be allowed to open the door for corporate offsetting schemes which would let companies off the hook for cutting their carbon emissions.
“One very welcome recommendation is the strong backing of an immediate ban on moorland burning, which devastates wildlife and releases carbon in to the atmosphere. Peat restoration is essential to carbon storage and nature restoration.”
Additional Friends of the Earth land policies:
- UK livestock products must not be replaced with more damaging imports – cutting consumption must go hand in hand with support for UK sustainable pasture fed livestock production and intensive factory farming of chicken and pork depending on imported soy feed must be ended;
- Public funding must be directed to supporting farmers to plant more trees and boost wildlife – there should be no intensification of crop production with harmful inputs to free up land - working with nature goes hand in hand with food productivity;
- To avoid exporting food production, farmland should be held for producing food and not energy crops. We can produce the energy we need and cut emissions faster by ramping up support for wind and solar. Car travel must be reduced and vehicles rapidly transitioned to electric not fuelled by biomass. Where there is a case for biomass it must be based on genuine waste and residues not dedicated crops;
- New housing should be located in existing towns and cities, and developers should be required to provide new space for nature.
Sandra Bell concluded: “If we get it right, changing the way we use land to address climate change will have many other benefits as recognised by the CCC including for the economy, human health, and biodiversity.”