Mon 11 Nov, 2019

It is no good for the other parties to continue to congratulate themselves about meaningless stretch goals if they cannot address the real obstacles to reducing emissions in transport, heating and agriculture. Mark Ruskell

The UK Committee on Climate Change has warned the Scottish Government is falling behind on transitioning agriculture to address the climate emergency.

Speaking to MSPs of the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee, CCC chief executive Chris Stark said plans to adapt agriculture were in place but progress was “half baked”.

The CCC told MSPs Scotland has not made enough progress on adapting Scotland to meet the challenges of global warming, especially with Brexit leading to the UK leaving the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

Chris Stark said: “The point when we leave the CAP is a really important moment for land managers up and down the UK.

“We know that there are plans afoot to replace the CAP with something else both in Scotland and in England, but I would say that the plans to do that in England and Wales are much better developed than they are in Scotland. We have to start considering land as a natural asset and not just a way of producing food, and when you open that up you get into a discussion about public money for public goods.

“I don’t see in Scotland the same commitment to developing a detailed issue on these issues yet, and this gives me some concern. When you think about both climate change adaptation and mitigation I don’t think when it comes to soils and land use that we can see a fully detailed policy prescription in the making, and that’s pretty concerning for me”

Responding, Scottish Green environment spokesperson Mark Ruskell said: “This is another example of a lack of real action from the Scottish Government to address the climate emergency. Even the UK Government has gone further.

“Intensive large-scale farming is incompatible with climate change, which is why the Scottish Greens have been calling for the way agriculture is funded is support farmers to achieve this challenging transition.

“It is no good for the other parties to continue to congratulate themselves about meaningless stretch goals if they cannot address the real obstacles to reducing emissions in transport, heating and agriculture. This is why they must consider our Scottish Green New Deal, which would begin now to realign our economy behind these efforts.”

The CCC also raised concerns over the impact on biodiversity in Scotland, and repeated the call for more detailed data from the Scottish government on how progress is measured.

Baroness Brown of Cambridge. Chair of the CCC’s adaptation committee, said there was a strong likelihood global warming could reach three degrees, and warned more action was needed to adapt Scotland.

She said: “We must take into account the risk of much more climate change. Research is good, but we must start moving towards action.”

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