NSA Breakfast Club - One piece of the global puzzle: the lowdown on what COP26 means for UK sheep farming

Date: 3rd November 2021

Time: 8.30am

Location: Online - zoom webinar

Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_C3Qm9v4sQEiTZs0H_x8gGA

With so much focus on events at COP26, it was very atmospheric for November’s Breakfast club webinar to be partly based in the Blue zone at the venue in Glasgow. The key message coming from the speakers and the debate, was, while agriculture had not been specifically high on the agenda during discussions at the conference, it cannot be separated from the debate on achieving decarbonisation targets. Speakers, Claire Taylor (Scottish Farmer) and Professor Piers Forster (Leeds University), described how some of the decisions and commitments made will have a significant impact on the way we farm in the UK.

Welcoming attendees and introducing the speakers, NSA Chairman, Dan Phipps, set the scene, describing how changes were being driven in farming to achieve more sustainability. This is changing some land use in various sectors and, therefore, how it is important to recognise the work already being done to adapt, in order for farming not to be seen as the problem, but as part of the solution.

Claire, who had attended one of the COP26 sessions the evening before, talked about the effect of misinformed tree planting strategies, how, inaccurately, local agriculture was being lumped in with global agriculture, and also pointed to the role some sections of the media have had in pointing the finger of blame, while appearing to ignore the deleterious effects of fuels and single use plastics. She stressed how, by presenting and promoting the positive aspects it is possible to change the discourse and how the voices of the farmers and crofters need to be heard, but there is a need to make better use of the mainstream media.

Piers, with delegates and officials at COP26 milling around his table, highlighted how the science presented in the IPCC report, can help formulate some solutions to reduce methane and the effect on the countryside, but also how there is a current dearth in data and evidence in some areas, for example on Carbon sinks. This and some other areas on which to focus, would benefit from more support and a coherent direction from DEFRA.

The debate that followed included discussions on how to change the apparent media bias, the effectiveness of DEFRA, the potential impact of climate change on funding and agricultural lending, carbon credit trading and further topics associated with the changing demands faced by UK agriculture and the possible steps required to address them. To view the webinar recording please go to NSA Breakfast Club - One piece of the global puzzle: the lowdown on what COP26 means for UK sheep farming | Webinars | National Sheep Association