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Farming for Climate Action: What are we waiting for?

Executive Summary

As part of our wider Rethink Farming campaign, our new report – Farming for Climate Action: What are we waiting for? – presents a useful comparison of devolved and UK government targets for climate and nature, alongside an overview of farming and land use across the UK and the main sources of greenhouse gas emissions (GhG) in each farming system. An infographic and a table of actions outline practical steps on how to start and continue the journey of farming for climate action with recommendations on best practices.

Our report explores how on-farm habitats can act as nature-based solutions that help reduce GhGs while supporting farming businesses in becoming more resilient and protected against the effects of climate change.

As well as offering numerous climate benefits, these actions can enhance biodiversity, create improved and more resilient ecosystem functioning, enhance human wellbeing and provide economic benefits, in terms of monetary value and job creation.

The natural assets within this table offer fundamental systems that underpin farming’s productivity and the health of these systems is vital in securing farming’s viability in the face of a changing and unpredictable climate. The provision of clean water and air, healthy and sustainable food production, lowered emissions, naturally captured and stored carbon, improved soil health and resilience against flooding and drought all benefit the farm business.

Climate action is as much in the hands of farmers, crofters and land managers as it is in the hands of decision-makers.

  • The UK is at a pivotal moment in time when momentous decisions in our food, farming and land use will dictate how effectively the urgency of the climate crisis is addressed.
  • Given the sheer size and scale of agriculture’s land use and contribution to the UK economy, the impacts of climate change will be devastating if farmland does not build effective climate resilience to changing weather.
  • Increasing the application of on-farm adaptation and mitigation strategies to manage the impact of climate change is of critical importance, with immediate inaction very likely to result in high costs later.
  • Whatever the system or approach, there are many ways to reduce GhG emissions and capture carbon in the land farmers manage.
  • The actions outlined in this report aim to help those who are unsure of where to start or where to continue and will offer some clarity on the practical steps to take.
  • To help on the journey, we have created a blank table to help get your planning started.

We hope this inspires you to take action for the climate – and in doing so for nature and for your business.