The Soil Association has launched a new campaign urging the public to act on climate change by calling for the government to develop a plan for reducing fossil fuel-based nitrogen fertilisers.
The fertilisers are 300 times more potent at warming the atmosphere than CO2, according to the organisation. This made them potentially damaging to the government’s aims to meet net zero, it added.
The association has said that achieving the target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions meant slashing emissions from fertiliser manufacture and use. However, the UK government’s Net Zero Strategy “offers no plan for tackling the problem”.
“It is shocking that the government’s Net Zero Strategy makes only a passing mention of the impact of fossil fuel-based fertilisers on the climate and environment and even more alarming that they have no plan in place to support farmers to reduce their reliance on them,” said Gareth Morgan, head of faming policy at Soil Association.
The association has called on the government to offer incentives and advice to farmers to help reduce their dependence on nitrogen fertiliser and adopt cheaper, more nature-friendly approaches to fix nitrogen on their farms.
“We want all UK governments to take action on nitrogen, but we are targeting the Westminster government first, as the biggest player, because they have ultimate UK accountability for net zero and the vast majority of fertiliser use is in England,” said Morgan.
It comes as a survey by Soil Association Certification found 69% of UK citizens are worried by recent evidence of climate change. Sixty-two per cent want the government, and all political parties, to prioritise policies that address climate change.
In resopnse to this, the Soil Association has called on the public to sign its There’s no Net Zero without Fixing Fertiliser petition, calling for the government to urgently set a target for reducing fossil fuel-based fertiliser use in UK farming, support farmers to transition away from reliance on artificial fertilisers and support nature-friendly farming approaches.