Achieving net zero carbon i.e. an overall balance between emissions produced and emissions taken out of the atmosphere, is required to meet the Paris Agreement, which aims to keep global temperatures below a 1.5°C rise above pre-industrial levels. According to the IPCC, there is less than 12 years to contain global warming within the 1.5°C target. The UK Government has committed to implementing the CCC's recommendations, with a legally binding net zero carbon target for 2050. The NFU aims to achieve net zero in England and Wales by 2040 and believes it's possible to do this through a combination of three different areas (or ‘pillars’), as set out in their 'Achieving Net Zero' guide.
We will focus on those that fall into pillar 2; storing carbon from the atmosphere in soils, trees and hedges. We’ll look at practices such as pasture-fed systems, alternative forage crops, permanent grasslands, incorporating trees and cover crops into farming systems, perennial crops, and using biochar as carbon source.
The Nature Friendly Farming Network has a great practical guide that sets out challenges faced by UK farmers and land managers and outlines positive steps farmers can take in each of the sectors to help achieve the necessary targets.