British butchers should sell New Zealand lamb rather than
local lamb to combat global warming, a study says.
The study, by the Consultative Group on International
Agricultural Research, has found food production accounts for
29 per cent of man-made greenhouse house gases.
The figure is twice the 14 per cent estimated by the United
Nations, and accounts for every aspect of food production and
distribution - including growing crops and raising livestock,
manufacturing fertiliser, and storing, transporting and
Feeding the world, the researchers claim, releases up to
17,000 megatonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere
The report, Climate Change and Food Systems, suggested
Britain would be better off importing lamb from New Zealand
as Kiwi farming methods produce half as much greenhouse gases
as those used in Britain.
Britain's National Farmers Union representative Nathan
Alleyne told the Daily Mail: "I don't think we'd be coming
out in support of that measure, but we'd need to read the
report before commenting on it."
While New Zealand's farming methods may be better than those
used in Britain, the report said growing food for sheep, cows
and pigs uses more land and produces more greenhouse gases
than producing crops for human consumption.
The report, which was published in the 2012 Annual Review of
Environment and Resources, also suggested China could cut
emissions with more efficient manufacture of fertilisers.
"The food-related emissions and, conversely, the impacts of
climate change on agriculture and the food system, will
profoundly alter the way we grow and produce food.
"This will affect different parts of the world in radically
different ways, but all regions will have to change their
current approach to what they grow and eat," said Sonja
Vermeulen, the lead author of Climate Change and Food
A second CGIAR report, Recalibrating Food Production in the
Developing World, suggested climate change is going to reduce
yields of three of the developing world's largest crops -
maize, wheat and rice.
Farmers could be forced to turn to more flood and
drought-tolerant crops, such as yam, barley, cowpea, millet,
lentils, cassava and bananas, the report said.
"We are coming to terms with the fact that agriculture is a
critical player in climate change," Frank Rijsberman, chief
executive of CGIAR, said.
"Not only are emissions from agriculture much larger than
previously estimated, but with weather records being set
every month as regional climates adjust and reset, there is
an urgent need for research that helps smallholder farmers
adapt to the new normal."
Bruce Campbell, who heads the CGIAR research programme on
climate change, agriculture and food security, said: "Farmers
around the world, especially smallholder farmers in
developing countries, need access to the latest science, more
resources and advanced technology. This research serves as an
urgent call for negotiators at the upcoming United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change in Doha."
- Paul Harper of nzherald.co.nz