International call for IPCC to consider GWP*/GWP-we for greenhouse gas emissions

06/03/2020

Sixteen agricultural organisations from England, Irealnd, Scotland, New Zealand and Wales have untied to call for different treatment of short-lived gases by the IPCC:

Climate change is one of the world’s most urgent challenges and farmers are amongst the first to see its impact on food production as they deal with the increased frequency and severity of extreme weather, such as droughts and floods.

But farming offers solutions, including:

    • Improving farming’s productive efficiency to reduce our GHG emissions
    • Farmland carbon storage in soils and vegetation
    • Boosting renewable energy and the bio-economy, to avoid GHG emissions from fossil fuels, and to create GHG removal through photosynthesis and carbon capture.

Agricultural organisations are calling on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to evaluate the more accurate global warming potential (GWP) metric of GWP*/GWP-we to measure the contribution of short-lived greenhouse gases to global warming.

All greenhouse gases aren’t equal. Fossil fuel emissions are long-lived, methane from stock is a short-lived gas.

Planting trees is just a bandaid for offsetting fossil fuel emissions, it is effective in offsetting methane emissions.

Given the scale of the climate change crisis facing the planet, we consider it vitally important that the best scientific information and tools available are being used to inform and build trust in the decisions that global and domestic policy makers are taking.

While GWP100 is the accepted metric for describing the warming impact of greenhouse gases, it is acknowledged to have shortcomings when it comes to the temperature response of short-lived emissions such as methane. GWP-we provides a more accurate measure of the behaviour of methane in the atmosphere and its net contribution to global warming.

Using metrics that inaccurately capture the contribution to warming of short-lived gases could lead to poor policy decisions. While all parts of our society must show leadership and play their part in addressing climate change, policy advice needs to reflect solutions that distinguish between the dynamics of biogenic methane and gases that persist in the atmosphere for long periods.

Too many policy decisions are based on emotion and politics, not science.

Whatever the IPCC’s decision on GHG metrics, farmers are committed to broad based action on climate change. We cannot afford to wait for more accurate measures to be developed: urgent action is needed now to improve productivity, conserve the carbon already in our pastures and grasslands, and store more carbon for the good of society.

The signatories to this call are National Farmers Union, National Farmers Union of Scotland, National Farmers Union CYMRU, National Sheep Association, Quality Meat Scotland, The Institute of Auctioneers and Appraisers in Scotland, Country Land and Business Association, British Meat Processors Association, Hybu Cig Cymru, Ulster Farmers Union, The Livestock and Meat Commission for North Ireland, Scottish Beef Association, Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, the Meat Industry Association, and Federated Farmers.

Policy must take into account the difference between short and long lived gases, it must also take into account the value of what’s produced from what produces the emissions.

Methane, which is a by-product of food production should not be treated the same way as fossil fuel emissions from non-essential products and pursuits.


Lamb cheaper here and there

17/01/2013

Butterfly legs of lamb have been selling at an Oamaru New World supermarket for $19 a kilo.

I appreciate that as a consumer but as a producer realise that is reflecting lower prices for our stock.

The red ink in meat companies’ annual reports showed that last years prices were higher than they should have been and we’re paying for it now.

We’re not in this by ourselves, the National Sheep Association in Britain is calling for supermarkets there to favour local lamb ahead of ours:

The National Sheep Association has claimed supermarkets are not stocking UK lamb as it is ‘out of season’ and instead opting for New Zealand meat.

The association said it was a ‘bitter blow’ for sheep farmers at a time when many are not receiving financial returns to cover the cost of production.

Farmers are losing £29 on average for every lamb they sell at market after new figures revealed farm gate prices have dropped by a fifth in the past year.

Lamb prices are at their lowest in three years due to a poor summer, rising production costs and a longer finishing period.

“Given that New Zealand lamb on supermarket shelves is not as cheap as it has been historically, a better pricing structure in supermarkets, a wider selection of UK cuts and better presentation on the shelf would all benefit shoppers and farmers alike” the NSA said.

But Sainsbury’s pledged to increase the amount it pays for lamb until the end of February at more than 60p/kg above the market rate.

The news came after several farming groups called on retailers to show a ‘genuine commitment’ to their British suppliers and customers.

More than 800 farmers who supply Sainsbury’s own brands will receive £3.80/kg for lamb, in a move that will ease the burden on some already hard-pressed farmers struggling with the collapse in the price of lamb.

“Sainsbury’s has recognised that sheep farmers cannot run businesses on current prices. It’s clearly time for the whole trade to now show they are committed to a sustainable UK lamb industry” said NFU livestock board chairman Charles Sercombe. . .

The recession has had an impact on demand and therefore prices for better cuts, notably lamb racks.

But the problem of low returns isn’t just due to meat prices, it’s also caused by low demand for wool and other by products.


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