Knowledge for better food systems

UK Government publishes Carbon Plan

The UK Government’s Carbon Plan was published in December 2011. It sets out how government’s proposals and policies for meeting the first four carbon budgets - legally binding limits on the amount of emissions that may be produced in successive five-year periods, beginning in 2008.

The first three carbon budgets were set in law in May 2009 and require emissions to be reduced by at least 34% below base year levels in 2020.  The fourth carbon budget, covering the period 2023–27, requires emissions to be reduced by 50% below 1990 levels.

For agriculture, the focus is on encouraging the farming industry to take actions, and on research: “The Government is encouraging practical actions which lead to efficiencies such as improved crop nutrient management and better breeding and feeding practices, which save both money and emissions. The Government is also working to improve its evidence base to better understand what this sector can feasibly deliver in the future. The Government will undertake a review of progress towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture in 2012 which will  assess the impact of existing measures and highlight further policy options. Next spring an independent panel will provide advice on the future direction of forestry and woodland policy in England.”

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Europe is the world's second-smallest continent by surface area, covering just over 10 million square kilometres or 6.8% of the global land area, but it is the third-most populous continent after Asia and Africa, with a population of around 740 million people or about 11% of the world's population. Its climate is heavily affected by warm Atlantic currents that temper winters and summers on much of the continent. In the European Union, farmers represent only 4.7% of the working population, yet manage nearly half of its land area.

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