Chair of Natural England, Tony Juniper, has emphasised that responsible land management and the restoration of damaged soils to rebuild carbon-capture capacity can be as important in the fight to avoid climate change as reducing the use of fossil fuels.
His comments were made on a visit to a dairy farm in Yorkshire alongside Environment Agency chair Emma Howard Boyd.
“At the moment, climate change has been seen as something which is about coal burning, about electricity; it’s about cars, aeroplanes, all that is very true but the big bit of the challenge and actually a huge bit of the solution is linked with how we manage land,” he said.
“One of the really big opportunities we have… is to be capturing carbon in the ground in recovering soils. That is about rebuilding soil and organic matter and if we do that successfully, that’s not only going to be removing C02 from the atmosphere, it is also going to be protecting long-term food security.”
He added that with the right policy framework he believed that the farming industry’s plan for net zero carbon emissions by 2040 could be achieved even earlier, but pointed out that it was important to have a united policy capable of delivering all the required environmental aims such as water quality, air pollution and biodiversity improvement.
“Unless we can unite these things into an integrated agenda, we won’t get as far as we can as fast as we can and with as many co-benefits as we can,” he warned.
Photo source: Tony Juniper/Twitter