The recent climate change talks in Paris ended with delegates from every country applauding the result. 


It all appears to be very far away and vague, so it seemed worth  asking local people what they think about the issue, and whether they, or government or perhaps industry needs to respond


Farming is the most enduring local industry, and the most to be affected by climate change.  The National Farmers Union also has a local man, Meurig Raymond, as it's President. He kindly arranged to have some questions on the issue answered by their climate change officer. 





How important an issue is climate change ?


Agriculture is unique. It supplies food, stores carbon and generates renewable energy but is particularly vulnerable to extreme weather events.  However agriculture in the UK has significant potential to address the challenge of producing for the future as well as tackling climate change.

It is such an important issue that farmers from all across the world were at the recent Paris climate summit. We were very pleased to see that the terms 'food security' and 'food production' both made it into the final Paris Agreement.


How will climate change affect your industry ?


A recent NFU survey highlighted that 60% of farm businesses in England and Wales have been affected by severe weather events in the last 10 years. This is a stark reminder that agriculture is on the front line of climate change impacts as we've seen this winter. 

Opportunities may also arise from warmer temperatures and longer growing seasons.  There are some examples of farmers growing new crops on a small scale e.g. Britain's first crop of 'table' grapes will hit some supermarket shelves this autumn.

The overall impact is very uncertain but the potential for better prospects for British farming bring a responsibility to help feed parts of the world where agriculture will be at greater risk.



What do you think is the cause of climate change ?



The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says the warming of the climate system is unequivocal and that human influence on this system is clear.


Is your industry taking any measures to mitigate the effects of climate change ?



The emissions profile of agriculture is fundamentally different from that of other sectors because greenhouse gases are emitted from inherently variable, biological processes linked to all kinds of agricultural production.

So agriculture's aim is to produce more with less environmental impact through more efficient use of inputs but there is no 'one size fits all' solution.


Agriculture in the UK has reduced its emissions by about 20% since 1990.  And farmers and growers are continuing to play their part through better nutrient management practices, improving livestock health and fertility and investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy.



In general, not just in farming, how will climate change be solved:-



The world is already committed to some change because of the 'lag' in the climate system so most aspects of climate change will persist for many centuries even if emissions of greenhouse gases are stopped.  The challenge for us all is to find ways to be better prepared for the weather and climate that might come our way whilst also significantly reducing emissions.


Thank you.



Readers who submit articles must agree to our terms of use. The content is the sole responsibility of the contributor and is unmoderated. But we will react if anything that breaks the rules comes to our attention. If you wish to complain about this article, contact us here