Rural fight against global warming

12 July 2001

Rural fight against global warming

By FWi staff

MEASURES farmers can take to reduce global warming without impeding agriculture have been published by the Country Land & Business Association.

A CLA report, Climate Change and the Rural Economy, will be presented at an inter-governmental climate-change conference in Bonn next week.

It outlines policy measures that the CLA believes farmers and rural businesses can take to help mitigate the effects of world climate change.

The need to cut emissions is paramount, said Henry Aubrey-Fletcher, who chaired the CLA team which produced the report.

“You really can reduce greenhouse gases and keep a vibrant living and working countryside with the support of public, Government and EU institutions.”

Global warming is expected to increase temperatures and bring changes in rainfall – leading to severe flooding and more droughts in rural areas.

Projected rises in sea levels place coastal areas such as the Norfolk Broads and the Fens at increasing risk from flooding, with big implications for farming.

The CLA believes rural businesses can adapt to face climate change to ensure the countryside remains vibrant environmentally, socially and economically.

The report demonstrates the leading role land managers can play in flood-control management, renewable energy and wildlife conservation.

CLA Chief Executive Mark Pendlington said: “This is an excellent example of the new CLA taking a lead for the benefit of the rural economy.”

The report urges ministers to support soil management practices that store carbon to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide and improve biodiversity.

It calls for the development of an on-farm carbon accounting system to boost farmers awareness of emissions and identify areas where they may be captured

Furthermore, the CLA believes farmers should grow biomass products such as elephant grass and willow to take the place of non-renewable fossil fuels.

On-farm reservoirs which can store winter rainfall to reduce water abstraction in drier summer months should be expanded, the report says.

Investment should be made in communication technologies to reduce travel and and in appropriate local rural housing to accommodate farmworkers.

The report also calls for incentives to be developed to manage the realignment of coastal land and the re-creation of floodplains as a flooding control tool.


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