Friday, 29 October 2010

WAG response to report on land use and climate change in Wales

The Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) land use and climate change group have responded to a recent report on land use and climate change in Wales. The report was:

"an assessment of the science relating to emissions from the agriculture, land use and food sectors in Wales and outlines a way forward for these sectors to achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. ... Existing evidence suggests that agricultural operations and land use changes contribute around 11% to Wales' total GHG [GreenHouse Gas] emissions - or a ~net 5,200 kt CO2e. Of this, about 45% is in the form of CH4 from ruminant animals" (pxxix)

The report lists five scenarios, one of which - Scenario 3 - is very interesting. It is based on major imposed cuts of around 60-70% in ruminant animal numbers, as has been proposed by the Tyndall Centre as part of a package of measures to achieve emission reduction rates of 6-9%/year for Wales. The scenario calls for drastic reductions in ruminant animal numbers, as they are the major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the land use sector, as well as sources of dairy and red meat products which are seen as being damaging to public health (pxxxii). Scenario 4 is a less extreme version of this. Predictably, the WAG group decided that Scenario 3 was "not considered to be practical" and ignored it.

The report makes over 40+ recommendations (some of which WAG only partially accepts or rejects), but, from a first reading of the report, it seems that no recommendations mention the HUMAN diet - reducing our animal intake in our diets would have a far greater, and easier effect, than tinkering around the edges, and subjecting animals to zero-grazing. It is evident that the farming lobby is very powerful in WAG. WAG summarised the report as emphasising "maintaining intensive dairy, sheep and beef sectors" - which shows how blinkered the whole of WAG is.

The report can be accessed here and WAG's response to the recommendations here.

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