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A new FAO-led partnership is looking to improve how the environmental impacts of the livestock industry are measured and assessed. FAO and governmental, private-sector, and nongovernmental partners will work together on a number of fronts to strengthen the science of environmental benchmarking of livestock supply chains.
There’s an interesting article in The Guardian about Sam Dryden, head of agriculture at the Gates Foundation.
This is taken from CCAF’S latest e-newsletter. CCAFS is the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, a partnership between the Consultative Group on International Agricultural CGIAR and the Earth System Science Partnership (ESSP).
A new 'Farm Platform' has been launched at Rothamsted Research North Wyke in Devon, aims to help farmers to optimise productivity in ways that are sustainable, whilst at the same time understanding the impact of farming methods on the environment.
Natural Resources Institute at the University of Greenwich, is inviting people to subscribe to its new e-newsletter - The Resource, to keep everyone informed of its latest activities.
According to figures published by the European Environment Agency, greenhouse gas emissions increased in 2010, as a result of both economic recovery in many countries after the 2009 recession and a colder winter.
Nonetheless, emissions growth was somewhat contained by continued strong growth in renewable energy sources. For more information see here.
In the mailing on 15 May 2012 we highlighted this paper by Seufert et al, published in Nature, which compared yields in organic and conventional farm systems. The study elicited a great deal of media comment and in response the study’s authors have written this interesting piece which you can read here.
The New Agriculturalist’s May 2012 issue focuses on ‘climate sustainable agriculture’ and features a number of smallholder projects focusing variously on soil carbon, rainwater harvesting, conservation agriculture and so forth.
Mexico is the second country in the world to have to have instituted legally binding targets on GHG emission reductions. The law mandates a reduction in CO2 emissions by 30% below business-as-usual levels by 2020, and by 50% below 2000 levels by 2050 (note that this is a relative target – the UK’s target is an absolute one)
McDonald's has launched a long term programme to support British and Irish farmers, with efforts to boost the number of young people in the industry and improve environmental and animal welfare standards.
This article in the Vancouver Sun looks at the work being done in Canada to promote local sourcing of foods in schools and hospitals - interesting to note parallel activities in different countries.
This article in Science Daily is based on materials prepared by the French Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) It argues that Brazil’s reliance on agricultural exports to drive economic growth is environmentally unsustainable and highlights the link between deforestation for cattle grazing, soy production on cleared land which pushes cattle further into the forest, and the sale of high-value timber. The article states that government controls introduced from the year 2000 have scaled down deforestation from around 20,000 to 6,000 km² per year, but the threat of an increase in world demand is always just over the horizon, with implications for further deforestation.
The British Retail Consortium has published its annual environmental progress report.
France’s Constitutional Council has approved a tax on sugary drinks. The tax, which works out to one euro cent per can of drink, is expected to bring in 120 million euros ($156 million) in state revenues.
This is an interesting article about a farmer’s attempt to improve the sustainability of the farm by basing production on a dual purpose dairy/beef breed, based on grass-feeding, high welfare and zero waste.
For analysis and commentary on the outcome from Durban, you may want to have a look at the following links – we're copying many of them from Carbon Brief’s always useful and interesting daily e-newsletter: see here for more http://www.carbonbrief.org/
The Telegraph reports that the French government has stated that that all students will have to eat meat if they want lunch at school. Taking a packed lunch is not an alternative as they are also banned. The ban will shortly be extended to kindergartens, hospitals, prisons, colleges and old people's homes. French agriculture minister, Bruno Lemaire, said in January that the Government's aim for nutrition was to defend the French agricultural model and counter initiatives such as those by vegetarian campaigners like Sir Paul McCartney.
John Forster, an FCRN mailing list member, has written two very interesting articles on aquaculture for the UK Research Councils’ Food Security website www.foodsecurity.ac.uk
Defra has launched a £20m ‘Farm and Forestry Improvement’ fund as part of its revisions to the Rural Development Programme for England. Open for grant applications of between £2,500 and £25,000, the scheme will focus on themes including nutrient management, energy efficiency, water harvesting and animal health.
Applicants have to show the funding will help them to improve the health and welfare of farm animals or save, recycle or reuse rainwater.
Premier Foods (manufacturers of brands such as Hovis, Sharwoods, Mr Kipling, Quorn, Ambrosia, Angel Delight, Bisto, Cadbury, etc) is moving forward its target on 100% sourcing of sustainable palm oil. The original target (made in 2008) was to source all its palm oil from sustainable sources by 2011. The target has now been moved forward to the end of 2010.