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It’s clear the SNP has kowtowed to weak arguments from parts of the farming lobby which ignore the potential for greener farming and land management practices to offset the unavoidable emissions from livestock. Mark Ruskell MSP

Green MSPs have slammed the SNP for letting down climate-friendly farmers who want to lead the fight to avoid a global climate emergency.

The stinging criticism comes after SNP and Tory MSPs used today’s Holyrood debate on Future Rural Policy to block calls from the Greens’ environment spokesperson Mark Ruskell MSP for extra funding to help farmers to cut their emissions to net-zero.

Agriculture is a major contributor to climate change emissions globally. In Scotland, emissions have reduced by 25% since 1990, but levels have remained stable over the last 10 years with no change since 2008. The National Farmers Union in England and Wales has backed a net-zero target, with NFU President Minette Batters telling the Oxford Farming Conference last week, “our aim must be ambitious, to get our industry to net zero across all greenhouse gas inventories by 2040 or before.”

Mark Ruskell MSP said:

“The expert warnings of climate emergency could not be any starker. We have just over a decade to change course dramatically, but the SNP continues to ignore the evidence and show no increased climate ambition.

“Farming can be part of the solution – and many farmers are taking action to cut emissions – but they need help. We should be using subsidies to reward farmers who maximise the potential of our soils, grassland and trees to lock up carbon from the atmosphere. That’s why Greens insist that future rural funding must have net-zero emissions as a driving purpose.

“It’s clear the SNP has kowtowed to weak arguments from parts of the farming lobby which ignore the potential for greener farming and land management practices to offset the unavoidable emissions from livestock. Those farmers who want to change deserve better leadership and a Government that faces up to the urgency of our climate crisis.”