George Eustice Britain county Oxford county Martin COST Strategy George Eustice Britain county Oxford county Martin

Only a tiny minority of rural Britons are farmers – so why do they hold such sway?

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We have a problem. The environment secretary, George Eustice – the highest green authority in the land – is, in a crucial respect, a climate denier.

In an interview with the Telegraph, he claimed that “livestock, particularly if you do it with the right pastoral system, has a role to play in tackling climate change”.Though such claims are often made, there is no evidence to support them.

A wide-ranging review of the data by the Oxford Martin School found no case of a livestock operation sequestering more greenhouse gases than the animals produce.

Moreover, because of the very large land area required for grazing livestock, pastoral systems carry a massive carbon opportunity cost (this means the carbon that would be captured if the land were returned to wild ecosystems).

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