International Agriculture News

Danish agriculture wants to be carbon neutral by 2050

The Danish Agriculture & Food Council (Landbrug & Fødevarer, DAFC) wants Denmark to produce its meat and vegetables with net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The ambitious target would require a huge effort from the industry along with support from the state, said Anne Lawaetz Arhnung, director of DAFC, a major interest organisation which represents farmers and producers in the agricultural sector.

Government investment in the area is necessary to support research and to compensate farmers who do more for the environment, according to Arhnung.

“We want to take responsibility for the global challenge in which more food is required, but it also needs to be produced in a sustainable way,” she said.

Agriculture is currently responsible for one-fifth of Denmark’s total carbon dioxide emissions.

Methods already in use can be expanded to help reach the 2050 target, according to DAFC.

These include excluding low-lying earth, often in areas close to water, from use in food production, since this type of earth emits relatively high amounts of carbon dioxide.

“This is a rather expensive and major exercise. But we also know it is one of the most effective areas (to focus on) in regard to reducing CO2 (emissions),” Arhnung said.

“For this to happen in such a fast and efficient manner, we need economic backing from the state,” she added.

Other potential methods for reducing emissions include converting slurry to biogas, improving animal feed and breeding animals that emit less CO2.

But new methods and solutions must also be found in the upcoming years, should the target be achieved, according to DAFC.

As such, research in the area is vital, Arhnung said.

The Danish Council on Climate Change (Klimarådet) praised the DAFC target.

“I think it’s fantastic every time a sector joins in the battle (to fight climate change). This is a good start. Now we need to see action, and this needs to be spread out to individual farmers,” the council’s chairperson Peter Møllgaard said.

“I also think it could be a good business model for the agricultural sector to produce climate-friendly products,” he added.