Dr David Styles, lecturer in Environmental Engineering, addressed the ICMSA AGM last Friday. Here are some highlights from his presentation;

On land use:

“An afforestation programme will shrink land remaining for food production and put more pressure on it. It’s not just an emissions balance, it’s a land balance.

“One million hectares for forestry and rewetting, that’s also one million less hectares for food production. That can provide opportunities.”

Regarding carbon credits:

“Could a carbon trading system operate? The reality is there is too much disagreement around standardisation of measuring to agree an international carbon trading scheme.

“A national change in land use will be captured in the national inventory. If private companies are paying farmers for carbon offsets, I don’t see a problem with that.

“No talk two or three years ago. It’s coming at us like a ton of bricks. We guys are dealing with the practicalities.”

On rewetting:

“There is a danger of rewetting affecting neighbouring farmers. It is a challenge.”

On national targets and carbon leakage:

“National targets is the system (for delivering carbon reduction at EU level), that’s unlikely to change. We can maintain production while being climate neutral, that will need a plan for the whole land-sector.

“There’s a risk in not engaging. If you don’t engage, change will happen without you. Early engagement by the industry will be the best for farmers.”