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Paths to progress in curbing climate change impact from farming

Professor Geoff Simm reflects on his role in Farming for 1.5C, an independent inquiry seeking consensus on how Scottish agriculture can help to limit global warming.

It has been very informative and enjoyable working as part of the Farming for 1.5C independent inquiry over the past 18 months.

This inquiry, jointly sponsored by NFU Scotland and Nourish Scotland, crucially includes farmers, activists and environmental NGOs and scientists. 

The panel has taken evidence from experts from across the agricultural and climate change arena in order to recommend how Scottish farmers and land managers can become the champions of the fight against climate change. It is a tall order, but it is crucial for the success and resilience of the industry, nature and Scotland as a whole.

Principles for change

The panel recently published its first report, A Transformation Pathway, identifying 15 key principles towards Scottish agricultural transformation.

These span culture change, broad stakeholder involvement in a Transformation Steering Group, new approaches to knowledge sharing, supporting industry leadership, better soil management, nitrogen management, and reduction targets for emissions of all three key greenhouse gases, building biodiversity, including through multifunctional land use.

Farming has a pivotal role in helping Scotland reach net zero – not only can it reduce emissions from its own agricultural activity, but by supporting ecosystems, building biodiversity and locking up carbon in trees and soils, it can help address current and historical emissions from other human activity.

Only with the engagement of the agricultural community, with its ability to absorb emissions and not just cut them, will it be possible for Scotland to deliver against its targets.

Related links

Farming for 1.5C