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RICS calls for recognition of major contributors of climate change in Copenhagen


15 Dec 2009


Climate & Environment
Innovation & Enterprise

RICS in association with the European Landowners Organisation (ELO) hosted a seminar on 'Adaptation and Mitigation: The Land Manager and the Climate Challenge' at the COP 15 Copenhagen Summit.

The event, which attracted mainly representatives from the scientific community from countries like Denmark, Germany and Australia, coincided with official round table discussions on impacts of deforestation and discussion amongst non-governmental farmers' groups. 

At the centre of discussions were the implications climate change has and will have for land management and agriculture in terms of adaptation but also measures for mitigation.

According to the Stern Report from October 2006, agriculture accounts for 14 % of non-energy GHG emissions.  Climate change negotiations have begun to address agriculture directly and indirectly. However, there is a real risk that agriculture may be lost as the text is streamlined during the final days at Copenhagen. 

According to RICS speaker Peter Fane, FRICS, it has a major role to play in mitigating climate change, starting with radical reductions of its methane and nitrous oxide emissions. He stressed the importance of a change of management practices in the sector. 

Strategic considerations as to mitigation and adaptation measures are not always reflected in farm and estate planning processes. Against a background of potential future carbon trading and renewables obligations, rethinking of fertiliser application techniques, manure management, livestock diets, anaerobic digestion of food and farm wastes were amongst some of the highlighted practical measures.

Land management has a unique contribution to make in the fight against climate change as it is the only sector to make a positive contribution through both energy substitution in terms of renewable energy instead of fossil fuels as well as material substitution with regard to supplying timber to replace highly polluting materials such as steel, concrete and bricks for the construction sector. 

In addition to this, there are also substantial opportunities in carbon sequestration through reduced soil tillage, organic matter recycling, afforestation and forest management. Agriculture can move from being a net emitter of GHG emissions to making a significant contribution but it has to start assessing both its own emissions and the scope for reductions whilst at the same time commit to generating renewable energy on a much greater scale. 

What we need from Copenhagen is a shared vision that recognises agriculture's important role for food production, food security and for the protection of ecosystems. Consequently, any agreement on REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) must include agriculture, forestry and other land uses."

Notes to editors:

RICS Global Climate Change Strategy is available here

For further information click  here and visit

Laura Lindberg

Media Relations Manager

RICS Europe

67, Rue Ducale, 

1000 Brussels, Belgium

T +32 (0)2 739 42 27

F +32 (0)2 742 97 48