A new report from the Governments advisory committee the "Natural Capital Committee" has been looking at the role nature based interventions can play in meeting our Net Zero target.
It makes a number of points and recommendations not all of which will be welcome but many of which are common sense.
At Burges Salmon our Net Zero team has been saying for some time that there needs to be a joined up approach by government as well as the key Net Zero sectors, energy, transport, land use and the built environment to both achieve Net Zero and to avoid unwanted negative side effects. The Committee's report puts it more starkly- saying without this approach "it could even contribute to further degradation of the environment."
Using nature based interventions can help us reach carbon reductions in a relatively economic way but they are not the complete answer and we know that there will have to be major shifts in the way we conduct our business across the board in years to come and a good deal of new technology.
On the land use side the Climate Change Committee's comment that there needs to be major tree planting, has received a lot of publicity but this Report makes the point that tree planting "without careful planning is likely to lead to the loss of other habitats" and "the wrong trees in the wrong places can have adverse impacts" on the environment. Again fairly obvious but worth a reminder to all.
I wrote a blog about tree planting and tree planting contracts a few months ago and while a small point in the macro piece it is a reminder to all that if tree planting for offsetting is being considered it has to come with the checks and clauses which protect against the very point above.
What we have seen as a result of Net Zero is a real focus on the energy and transport sectors and to a more limited extent the built environment (particularly decarbonising industry). But my food, farming and agricultural experts will tell you that the land use sector will be crucial. That is why we pulled together experts in the sector for the first of our Net Zero Roundtable workshops in February. Our ultimate aim is to help the sectors interact and address the Net Zero challenge together.
As for land use, if we get it right which we must, we will be in the fortunate position of reaping all sorts of side benefits such as; agricultural production, a boost to wild species, recreational access and wellbeing, seafood production and water quality.
New report from independent advisory committee warns the government must approach net zero carbon target carefully, with joined-up policy interventions that do not inadvertently lead to higher emissions