2019-09-16_The_Big_Issue_UserUpload.Net

(Jacob Rumans) #1
10 | BIGISSUE.COM 16-22 SEPTEMBER 2019

fact/fiction. Old news, truthfully retold

FACTS. CHECKED

TheNFUreliesonunprovenmethodstonarrowdowncarbon
emissionstozeroandmissesthefactthatcuttingdownon
redmeatevenalittlebitisafairlysimplewaytomake
adifference.
Farmers’planscentreonimprovingfarming’sproductive
efficiency,landmanagementandchanginglandto capture
morecarbonbeforeitisreleasedinto theatmosphereandto
boosttheuseof renewableenergyandwiderbio-economy.
That meansusinghempfibreandsheep’swool –asThe
Telegraphreported–aswellasbiggerhedgerows,moretrees
andwoodlandastheMailOnlinereported.Usinghempfibre
–or ‘hempcrete’– asinsulationishardlythoroughlytestedfor
thispurpose.
Also,theNFUreport focusesonfarmers’abilityto fulfil
meatneedsandhasnomentionof whetherpeoplewill
continuetoeatmeatatthesamerate.NFUpresidentMinette
Batterssaid:“Weshouldnotreduceour capacityto feedUK
consumerswithhigh-quality,affordableBritishfood.”
Butlet’sbefrank,theNFU’sfindingsflyinthefaceof what
scientists have been telling us for quite some time. Even as this

report was released,anotherstoryfrom CambridgeUniversity
was doingtherounds,sayingthattheyhad seentheircarbon
emissionscutbyathird byaxingbeefandlamb from menus.
AndjustlastmonththeUN’sIntergovernmentalPanel
onClimateChangereleasedareport thatfoundoutglobal
food productioncontributes31percentof human-related
greenhousegasemissions,withmethanefrom cattle
andmanureincreasingby1.7timessince1961whilemeat
consumptioninthattimehasdoubled.
IntheUK,thegovernment-advisingCommitteeonClimate
Changeadvisedlastyear cuttinglamb andbeefpastureby
between20and50percentby2050.Theysuggestreplacing
thatwithpork andchickenaswellasreplacingdairyproducts
withcrops.TheCCC’sconclusionisthat“fundamentalreformis
requiredtoensurelandbecomesamoreeffectivecarbonstore”.
To theircredit,theNFUarelookingto slashemissions.
Theirplansarewelcome–weallneedto bedoingour bit,
especiallyfarmers–butpresentingthisreport asasilverbullet
thatallowsustoindividually wash our hands of responsibility
is not correct.

Can we save the planet without

cutting down on red meat?

HOWITWASTOLD
TheNationalFarmers’Unionhavegotbeef.Loadsofit,infact,
withtheoft-repeatedclaimthatcuttingourredmeatfarming
andconsumptionwouldhelpslashcarbonemissions.
That’sprettyimportantwhenitcomesto savingtheplanet–
there’scertainlyalotatsteak,sorry,stake.
TheNFU’sreport,titled‘AchievingNetZero: Farming’s
Goal’outlineshow farmerswillachievezero carbonemissions
overthenexttwo decades.
It was givenaprominentpositioninTheGuardianon
September10withtheir“Noneedto cutbeefto tackleclimate
crisis,sayfarmers”splashstory.
From there,thestorywas pickedupbythei,whichwentwith:
“UKfarmingcouldbecarbonneutral by2040underNFU
climatechangeplan”aswellastheMailOnlinewith“Farmers
willusebiggerhedges,healthierlivestock andmoreprecise
pesticidesto cutgreenhousegasemissionsto zero by 2040 ,
unionsays”.
TheTelegraphtook adifferentapproachto thestory,instead
optingto honeinonsomeof themethodsbeingsuggested,
ratherthantheendgoal.“Buildingsshouldbemadeoutof
hempandwool to cutcarbonemissions,NationalFarmers’
Unionsays”lookedathow theNFUishopingto createthe
conditionsto absorbcarbonbeforeitenterstheatmosphere.
Interestinglyenough,onlyTheGuardianandtheBBC’s
versionsof thestory(“UKfarmsplanfor going‘carbonneutral’”)
containedscrutinyfrom othercampaigners,mostnotably
Friendsof theEarth.
ButistheNFU’s plan to keep us chomping on meat a
workable one?

Illustration:Miles Cole


REPEATING

WORTH

Stats:

UN’s Intergovernmental

Panel

on Climate Change &

Committee

on Climate Change

Meatconsumptionhas
doubled since 1961

31%

Foodproduction
contributes 31 percent
ofhuman-related
greenhousegases

UKlambandbeef
pastureshould be
cutby
20-50per
cent by 2050
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