The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) finally ended with an agreement which some people say doesn’t go nearly far enough to tackle climate change, while others have hailed it as a milestone.
During the course of the discussions in Glasgow, UK Environment Minister George Eustice hinted that the UK may introduce a carbon tax as part of climate change policies, something that some consultants believe, ‘could result in swathes of farmers going out of business.’
“The introduction of a carbon tax could be a severe blow to UK agriculture,” warns Joe Spencer, Partner at MHA. “Such a measure may profoundly decrease margins across the sector, especially for growers, and put businesses at huge risk at a time when they need support from the government most.
“Amid suggestions that the UK could take the lead and be the first country to adopt a carbon tax, unless this tax was agreed on a global scale, UK farmers would undoubtedly feel a disproportionately negative impact compared to their international competitors. The result would drive up consumer prices for UK products, thereby boosting demand to import produce from outside the country, as well as undermine the ambition of UK farmers to grow sustainable, low carbon food while protecting the countryside.”
He added, “The agriculture sector can – and should – play a pivotal role in tackling climate change… Part of the government’s strategy should also address the distorted public perception of agriculture’s contribution to climate change, such as challenging false media claims on agriculture carbon emissions and working with industry leaders like the National Farmers Union and Country Land and Business Association on educating the wider public to improve understanding of the issues and reinforce the importance of the food sector.”
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