Climate Change & Food
Support our campaign for 5% of Region 1 land in organic management by 2020
Nourish is calling for an organic target to be included in Scotland’s new Climate Plan. The draft Climate Plan (the third ‘Report of Policies & Proposals’ or ‘RPP3’) came out this January as part of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act and is still being developed. The draft plan sets out a positive vision of Scotland’s future – cleaner, healthier and more prosperous. It aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 66% (from 1990 levels) in the next 15 years. However, we think the plan doesn’t contain enough concrete actions for cutting greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture – despite it accounting for nearly a quarter (23.4%) of Scotland’s total emissions.
Nourish is calling for a target of 5% of Region 1 land to be in organic management by 2020 to be included in the Plan.
- Organic farming uses less energy and delivers lower greenhouse gas emissions per unit of area and in most cases per unit of product.
- There are higher carbon sequestration rates in organically managed soils.
- Organic production supports biodiversity above and below ground, and uses very few antibiotics.
- Organic farming can be more profitable and contribute to rural development.
We lay out some more arguments for supporting organic farming in this blog post on why Scotland needs an organic target.
The campaign so far
On the 1st of February, Nourish Director Pete Ritchie gave evidence to the Rural Economy & Connectivity Committee on agricultural policies in the Climate Plan. You can read the written evidence we submitted in advance of the session here. You can also watch a recording of the whole session, including contributions from the other expert witnesses, here (starting at 1:02) or read the minutes here.
We’re also a member of the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition Scotland and its Policy & Advocacy Group, and fed into the Coalition’s written evidence to the four parliamentary Committees scrutinising the Plan.
The Committee on Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform Committee (ECCLR) & the Committee on Rural Economy and Connectivity (REC) published their reports on the draft Plan on the 10th of March.
We were glad to see REC recommending the inclusion of organic farming in the Climate Plan:
“The Committee notes that there was a lack of focus on organic farming, consideration of demand side measures or conservation tillage where this is appropriate, in the Draft Climate Change Plan. It calls on the Scottish Government to consider their inclusion in the final draft.”
We also encouraged our members and supporters to contact their MSPs about the inclusion of an organic target in advance of the parliamentary debate on the Plan on Thursday the 16th of March – and we’re very grateful many of you did!
Organic farming was indeed mentioned by Rhoda Grant MSP during the debate. The Plan is now back with the drafting team and it will be up to Government to accept or decline the recommendations from the Committee reports, and then bring back a final plan to be debated in Parliament again. In other words, we still have a chance to get support for organic farming into the Climate Plan.
We’re grateful to our supporters for taking part in the campaign so far and putting organic farming in the spotlight in the scrutiny process of the Plan. Stay tuned!
You can read more of our thoughts on food and climate change, including other campaign asks here.