The UK’s greenhouse gas emissions could be cut to zero by 2030 if livestock numbers were slashed by 80%, according to a report on the country’s energy production.
The study, published by the Centre for Alternative Technology, says British agriculture could take steps to help eliminate emissions within 20 years, creating thousands of jobs and securing the countries energy supplies.
Published on Wednesday (16 June), it sets out an energy strategy to cut emissions to zero across all sectors, including transport, construction and land use, as well as increasing the amount of renewable energy used in the UK by 100%.
Including research from 13 universities and 12 research bodies, the ZeroCarbonBritain 2030 report says an 80% reduction in livestock – which are responsible for 82% of emissions in agriculture – would drive down greenhouse gasses.
It says focusing on producing non-livestock produce would generate more food which had a higher nutritional value.
Setting out other key priorities for the industry, the report says Britain can grow most of its own food while still producing biomass for heating, electricity and transport fuel.
Land could be used to “mop-up residual emissions” through sequestration, it adds.
“We are confident that if Britain treated this as the serious emergency the climate science is saying it is, we could eliminate the need for fossil fuels within 20 years,” said Paul Allen, CAT development director.
“We believe we can maintain high levels of well-being while staying within a strict carbon budget, eliminating our reliance on fossil fuels and providing access to energy for everyone.”