Farming organisations have welcomed targets which would see Britain’s greenhouse gas emissions slashed by a fifth.

The joint agricultural Climate Change Task Force has praised a report by the Committee on Climate Change, released this week (1 December), which said a 21% cut in greenhouse gases was needed to meet the goals to tackle global warming.

The Task Force, made up of the Agricultural Industries Confederation, the Country Land and Business Association and the NFU, praised the committee for recognising the difficulties posed in reducing agricultural emissions.

But it said the full potential for agriculture to mitigate climate change could not be realised without increased research and development, including managing soil and nutrients and livestock diets.

The task force also called for red tape around implementing anaerobic digestion and other renewable energy opportunities on farms to be removed.

Agriculture should be allowed to balance its greenhouse gas emissions through carbon storage and the export of renewable energy services alongside producing food, it added.

The committee, which advises the government on climate change, said emissions could be cut through greater energy efficiency and using more renewable fuel sources such as wind.

Setting emissions targets in its first report, the committee recommended strict carbon budgets for the next three five-year periods to cut emissions.

The emissions reductions will cost Britain less than 1% of its gross domestic product in 2020 and between 1 and 2% of GDP by 2050.

Committee chairman Adair Turner said: “It is not too late to tackle climate change, but it will be unless the world takes action soon.

“Developed countries need to lead the way with strong commitments.”

Lord Turner said the cuts could be achieved without compromising lifestyles or the economy.