The UK’s livestock industry would be a ‘casualty’ of Labour’s plan to introduce a net zero emissions target by 2030, Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister Andrew RT Davies has said.
Mr Davies, who covers the rural affairs brief, told Farmers Guardian the UK’s independent climate advisory body, the Committee on Climate Change, had recommended a 2050 net zero target, and to bring the date forward 20 years was a ‘political’ move not based upon science.
The UK Government has since adopted the 2050 target as official policy, while the NFU has set its own goal for the agriculture industry to reach net zero emissions by 2040.
“We seem to have ended up in a bit of a political arms race to get some sort of figure out there, and Labour have hung their hat on 2030, but they have offered no roadmap of how they would do that,” said Mr Davies.
“The danger for us is if Labour were to win the election and implement this date, we would end up importing sub-standard food which would not be obliged to meet these targets, and the livestock industry ultimately would be one of the biggest casualties.
“The climate change emergency is pressing, but we will only hit the targets if we take people and industry with us.”
Sir David King, who has advised Labour, the coalition and Conservative Governments on climate change also warned the 2030 target would be ‘extremely difficult’ to meet and 2035 would be ‘quite a bit easier’ during an interview on BBC PM last week (November 4).
“But I am not likely to be critical of a party which is keen to move that timeline down to 2030,” he added.
The Conservative Government has faced criticism for failing to set out a roadmap to meet its own 2050 target, too.
Last month, Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom told MPs on the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee that the plan would be published ‘next year’, and would make use of carbon capture and storage technology, nuclear power and renewables.
FG has approached the Labour Party for comment.