Agriculture and climate change

Climate change threatens our ability to ensure global food security, eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development. In 2016, 31 percent of global emissions originating from human activity came from agrifood systems.

This includes deforestation, livestock production, soil and nutrient management, and food loss and waste. The increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases are trapping more heat in the atmosphere, which causes global warming.

Climate change has both direct and indirect impacts on agrifood systems due to shifting and unpredictable rainfall patterns and temperatures, a higher incidence of extreme weather events and disasters such as drought, floods, outbreaks of pests and disease and ocean acidification.

Source: FAO Climate Change

DEFRA Agri-climate report 2022

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In 2015, the UK pledged to be Net Zero by 2050, with the NFU striving for the more ambitious target of 2040. Net Zero is achieved when the amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted is balanced with those removed from the atmosphere. This helps to combat climate change and reduce global warming.

Opportunities are increasing for farmers and land managers to earn revenues from storing carbon in soils or vegetation, or by reducing baseline GHG emissions from crop and livestock production.

YEN Zero is a recently established network in the ADAS YEN Family, with the overarching aim of creating a net-zero community. It aims to bring key players from across the agricultural industry together to meet the industry’s target of achieving net zero emissions by 2040.

The number of tools and calculators available can be daunting. None are necessarily right or wrong, the appropriate tool for you depends on the question you are asking.

The Farm Carbon Toolkit was created by farmers for farmers. For over a decade, we’ve worked to further the understanding of greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture. We provide tools and services to measure impact and run projects with farmers that inspire action on the ground. Our vision is a farming sector that minimises its carbon emissions and maximises its carbon sequestration, whilst producing quality food and a wide range of public goods, all produced by resilient and profitable farm businesses. Some people call this vision a regenerative farming future.  

The ADAS Climate and Sustainability team help clients to address their sustainability challenges.

Ahead of COP27 in Egypt, Countryside COP will once again be held in October to allow the rural community to come together and showcase the opportunities available and the contribution already being made to reach Net Zero. 

Right across the world, every single day, people make decisions based on the weather. We provide weather and climate forecasts to help with those decisions so people can be safe, well and prosperous.

A transdisciplinary hub looking to provide to bridge the gap between science and policy to achieve Net Zero

NFU published a report in 2019 outling how agriculture can be part of the solution and commiting

Lots of initiatives are measuring and reporting the carbon or greenhouse footprint of products or activities, including crops, livestock and food.

Together, we’re creating plausible pathways, and practical, open science, to achieve Net Zero through the Agrifood system by 2050.

The Agriculture and Land Use Alliance brings together all interested organisations/individuals across the UK pre-farm gate sector to drive change to a net zero economy through results-driven collaboration.

Cofund on Sustainable Crop Production from EU ERA-NET programme

White Horse Energy have secured funding from Department of Energy Security and Net Zero as part of the Biomass Feedstocks Innovation Programme to develop a transportable pelletising technology. This will be deployed at farm level with the capability of processing agricultural residues and perennial energy crops into industrial standard biomass pellets. This produces a high-density renewable energy source, for which the demand is growing substantially because of the need to find alternatives to fossil fuels. A prototype of the mobile pelletiser is currently being developed ready to enter the market. White Horse Energy hopes to provide farmers with an opportunity to increase farm revenue, all year round, without interfering with existing operations.  Due to a lack of domestic production, current UK demand for biomass feedstocks significantly outweighs available supply. Therefore, a large proportion of biomass material is currently imported, which limits the sustainable nature of this energy source. White Horse Energy’s innovation will increase the viability of UK production and provide farmers with the opportunity to diversify into a new UK market, with lower environmental impacts and input costs. White Horse Energy are keen to engage with farmers during this development stage to understand the issues and concerns within the agricultural industry that affect growers most. This engagement assists in shaping the project to provide a diversification option that contributes positively to both the environment and farm income. Ultimately producing a solution that meets a wide variety of needs for everyone.

Countryside COP, organised by CFEonline, provides a platform to hear how the UK farming can help tackle climate change and improve sustainability. From 20-24 November 2023, ADAS hosted a series of webinars exploring how to improve climate resilience in the agricultural sector.

This project aims to bring some clarity on the extent to which commonly used tools diverge in their estimates of carbon footprint for a range of well-defined reference systems.

Reducing your Carbon Footprint: Integrated approaches to reduce emissions and increase carbon sequestration

The Go to Guide for reducing farm GHG emissions, from Innovation for Agriculture. Funded by WWF a

Report from RASE on getting to Net Zero.

Scientific paper in Nature by Tim Searchinger and colleagues on Carbon Opportunity Cost of ch

Scientific paper in Nature Climate Change in 2016 by Antony Lamb, Andrew Balmford & Colle

Guide from CIEL on GHG emissions from livestock farming and how to reduce them.

Help us collate the knowledge sources, organisations and initiatives out there that are seeking to improve the farmed environment

The key GHGs for agriculture that contribute directly to climate change are:  Carbon dioxide (CO2)  Methane (CH4)  Nitrous oxide (N2O)   All these GHGs are often grouped under the umbrella term ‘carbon’. 

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This Topic doesn't yet have a Stewarded summary, but connected groups, content and organisations show below. Click the 'Ask to Join' button if you would like to be a Steward for this Topic and provide a summary of current knowledge and recommend useful resources, organisations, networks and projects. "Like" this Topic if you would like to see it prioritised for providing a wikipedia style summary.

Measurement and forecasting of weather is a major interest in agriculture

Environment Digest is a quarterly publication that provides a synopsis of recent news, reports and other materials that are of interest to the farming community. With a particular focus on how agriculture links with the environment, each issue focusses on articles across sustainable food production, climate change, water and waste management, soils and biodiversity. Environment Digest principally focuses on stories and policy changes that are relevant to England and/or the UK with a slant towards the arable sector.

An overview of the greenhouse gas costs of cropping, including an analysis of YEN data in lead up to establishing YEN Zero.  Also includes an analysis of the relationship between nitrogen fertiliser, GHG costs, yield, GHG intensity and potential indirect land use change (ILUC) consequences.  

The next Low Carbon Agriculture Show will take place on the 7 - 8 February 2023 at the National Agricultural Exhibition Centre (NAEC), Stoneleigh, to help farmers and landowners to rise to the challenge of producing more domestic, climate friendly food and energy.

Carbon Zero Consulting, part of the RSK group, invites you to discover what natural environmental heat sources can do for your food and drink manufacturing operations, as it is clear that high energy prices are here to stay for the foreseeable future.

As part of the Biomass Feedstocks Innovation Program, White Horse Energy are developing a transportable pelletiser to process agricultural residues and perennial energy crops behind the farmgate. This will provide farmers with a diversified and increased revenue stream without interfering with existing operations. For more information, read on.

We need more woodland for people to enjoy, for nature, to sustain our timber security and to help reduce the impact of climate change.

Our food system accounts for 1/3 of all global emissions - so why has it hardly been talked about at previous COPs? Will this ever change?

CO2, CH4, GWP, N2O, CO2e? It’s not all about carbon – and the most important emission from agriculture isn’t carbon dioxide. See HERE  AHDB's glossary of terms regarding carbon and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions.

‘Business-as-usual’ is dead. So what could the UK agri-food system look like in 2050, and what would this mean for research now & net zero?

Increasing the amount of C stored in soil is beneficial from a climate change mitigation perspective.

You are invited to join us for this winter meeting at David Fuller-Shapcotts Sweethope Farm.

The Big Tent is the annual meeting of the Network and an opportunity for participants to hear from, and engage with, researchers, business leaders, policy-makers and voluntary organisations working for change in the agri-food system to meet the UK’s net zero 2050 goal. 

Carbon Calling CIC is a farmer-led movement founded in 2019 by Liz Genever and Nic Renison.   It is aimed at farmers who are just on the turn - they know what they are doing isn't quite working but not sure what to do next.   We are want to empower all livestock farmers in the UK to develop their systems to ensure they are profitable, environmentally aware and improving well-being.

ADAS, the Met Office, and farming guests explore the barriers and challenges that farmers face from a changing climate.

This paper describes four scenarios for how the world might be in 2050 and what sort of agri-food systems may exist within them.

Balancing food production and ecosystem function.

How can we improve resilience? Whose job is it to do what – from supporting farmers, to meeting consumer demand?

To help growers calculate the carbon footprint of their crops and identify mitigation measures, the Yield Enhancement Network created a new farmer network called YEN Zero.

The discussions at COP28 highlight the critical role of agricultural innovations in achieving food security and climate goals sustainably.

ADAS and the Met Office will explore what mechanisms there are to support an agriculture and food sector that is resilient to climate change.

The business event showcasing low carbon practices, technology and energy solutions for a profitable & sustainable farming future

How rising competition for land threatens international and environmental stability, and how the risks can be mitigated.

The role of livestock in our ecosystems and economy.

Interested in learning more about home grown protein crops but don’t know where to look?

Healthy, well-managed soils support productive and healthy crops and pasture and allows for a profitable and resilient farming system.

Pathways to Sustainability - Scaling the Transition of Global Agriculture

As global warming increases, young people currently in their teens, 20s, 30s, and early 40s will be the ones to bear the brunt of climatic changes, plus the responsibility of transitioning the agri-food system towards net zero by 2050.

Join us for an insightful day at the Oxford FAI Farm where we will be showcasing the groundbreaking progress of 'bigger steps for smaller footprints towards climate-positive beef', funded by the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs’ Farming Innovation Programme Feasibility Round 1 Competition.

This page is designed to give information to PulsePEP community members on using the Farm Carbon Calculator from Farm Carbon Toolkit for carbon emission baselining as part of the Nitrogen Climate Smart Project.

The last decade has witnessed dramatic changes in global food consumption patterns mainly because of population growth and economic development.

Join us for a morning tour and chat with Nuffield Scholar Toby, as we explore the benefits of cover cropping for climate-friendly farming.

Our farmers and consultants discuss how they have adapted to cope with drought and flooding on their farms and the practical changes made to withstand these weather events.

A transformation of food systems is urgently needed, possible, and offers enormous economic benefits.

Case studies from 26 farmers striving to reach net zero

Scientific paper from

AHDB Research Review No 94. 2020.  By Elizabeth Stockdale and Vera Eory This high-

Scientific paper reporting analysis of hay yields from Park Grass long term experiment in Her

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