Guest essay by Eric Worrall
You would think in a country where poverty leads to thousands of deaths every winter, where far too many people go hungry every night, government advisory bodies would have the sense to avoid suggestions which could put pressure on food supplies.
‘Cut lamb and beef’ to fight climate change
By Roger Harrabin
BBC environment analyst
The number of sheep and cattle in the UK should be reduced by between a fifth and a half to help combat climate change, a report says.
The shift is needed, the government’s advisory Committee on Climate Change (CCC) maintains, because beef and lamb produce most farm greenhouse gases.
The report foresees an increase in the number of pigs and chickens because these produce less methane.
The farm union NFU said it supported more diverse land use.
But environmentalists say the recommendations are too timid.
The CCC says a 20-50% reduction in beef and lamb pasture could release 3-7m hectares of grassland from the current 12m hectares in the UK.
The un-needed grassland could instead grow forests and biofuels that would help to soak up CO2.
The CCC report is available here.
The report authors claim that reduced production due to farmland lost to “afforestation” could be compensated by increased consumption of fruit and vegetables, indoor agriculture under grow lights, and improvements to agricultural practices, though they admit using grow lights is expensive.