A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has recommended people move away from eating meat to stop global warming reaching a dangerous level.
The Paris Agreement, signed by 195 countries across the world, tasked the IPCC with producing the report, which examined the impact global warming of 1.5°c would have.
One of the recommendations the document contained was to ‘limit demand for greenhouse-gas intensive foods through shifts to healthier and more sustainable diets’.
It also suggested improved management of water, manure and herds could help to reduce emissions from farming.
Liz Bowles, head of farming at the Soil Association, said the report showed climate change should be a ‘top priority’ for Defra Ministers.
“It is deeply worrying that just one line of the Agriculture Bill refers to the possibility of future support for cutting greenhouse gas emissions,” she added.
“The Government now urgently needs to prioritise support for widespread adoption of farming methods proven to reduce emissions and store more carbon in soils, such as organic farming and forestry.
“A shift towards less but better meat and dairy consumption and production is also needed, alongside dramatic cuts to food waste and a focus on shortening supply chains.”
But NFU deputy president Guy Smith pointed out farmers were already taking action to mitigate climate change.
He said: “Around two-fifths of farmers and growers have already diversified to produce clean, low-carbon renewable energy and many are taking measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“Farmers are focused on improving agricultural productivity through better management of nutrients, livestock, energy and soil and the NFU is working with its members to implement more efficient ways of producing food for the country.”