Committee on Climate Change: 22% of UK farmland must be used to tackle climate change
The Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has published a new report on how UK land use must change in order to meet the government’s net-zero emissions target. A key recommendation was for 22% of UK agricultural land to be converted into habitats designed for carbon sequestration. This will include restoration of at least 50% of upland peat and 25% of lowland peat, and a ban on peatland burning for grouse shooting management. The CCC also recommended an increase in Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) capacity, with 23,000 more hectares of land dedicated to growing bioenergy crops each year from the mid-2020s. The report calls for a 20% shift away from ruminant meat and dairy consumption, and for a reduction of food waste by 20% each year. The proposed measures are estimated to cost £1.4 billion per year, but would generate benefits in ecosystem services worth £4 billion. Notably, the CCC recommendations are less ambitious than those proposed by the former chief scientific advisor to the government, Sir Ian Boyd, who advised that 50% of farmland should be returned to nature requiring a 90% decrease in cattle and sheep production. Read the Carbon Brief summary of the CCC report here.