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How can global agriculture approach net zero?

05 May 2021

The agriculture industry and supply chains need to be more unified to achieve net zero climate goal, say experts at BSAS conference.

During the "Global Net Zero" conference session, sponsored by Devenish, the BSAS expert panel: Dr Elizabeth Magowan, Dr Alexandre Berndt, Dr Polly Erickson and Dr Michael Battaglia, conveyed that in order for the industry to achieve its net carbon targets, there must be greater global unity between the sectors and between links in the supply chain.

There was agreement amongst the panel that the issues within the UK affecting the move to net zero, including the development of new technologies to reduce carbon footprint, the acceleration of the widescale uptake of current and new technologies to mitigate greenhouse gas production, and the need to communicate more effectively with the wider population, were not unique to the UK, or to any specific sector of UK agriculture, but instead are being experienced on a global scale.

Dr Elizabeth Magowan says, "The UK industry is critical to the health of our economy, society and through decarbonization will be key in managing land across the UK to improve environmental health. The decarbonization of the livestock industry will be challenging but scientific innovations in the coming years will enable the achievement of these goals. In our drive to achieve the net zero goal we must avoid unintended consequences and it is vital that science and strategies to achieve net zero are holistic in their approach and outcomes.

"To meet the 2050 net zero target, it is also going to require the whole industry to work together to drive efficiency and ensure new technologies are used effectively across all sectors, making use of developments from elsewhere in the world. At the same time, it will be essential that supply chains work together to achieve the targets and communicate with the consumers, so they understand the steps taken by the industry to protect the environment."

Michael Battaglia (CSIRO) also urged that the only way for countries to achieve their carbon reduction targets, was for territories to work together and adopt a global approach "Approaches in one country or region can work effectively in other countries so sharing of experiences is crucial if the global issues are to be addressed."

The panel identified that the development of novel supplements to increase ruminant productivity while cutting methane production and silvopasture, where trees are planted in grazing areas to increase carbon storage while providing shelter for animals, were two examples of advances that can be adopted across the world to help increase the range of technologies available in different territories.

If you weren’t able to attend this session or would like to watch it again, then it can be streamed from the Whova conference platform.



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