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Climate Change

Volume 454: debated on Thursday 14 December 2006

18. To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his European counterparts on tackling climate change. (109032)

I had extensive discussions with my European counterparts at the UN Climate Change Conference in Nairobi in November.

Although progress was made, we need to move forward with greater urgency and EU environment ministers will be meeting on 18 December to set out the way forward for 2007.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effect of climate change on food production in England. (104998)

The Government continue to make considerable investment in research on climate change and agriculture to help both policy makers and industry plan for the uncertainties ahead. A recent review, summarising all the recent research on impacts and adaptation in agriculture is available on the DEFRA website:

http://www.defra.gov.uk/science/documents/publications/Defra_CC03_review_030705_JPGamended_jrp%20FINAL.pdf.

Overall, the research suggests that climate change impacts do not appear to threaten the viability of the agriculture industry as a whole in the UK due to the adaptability of UK systems. However, individual agricultural businesses and land managers will need to be alive to the need for adaptation. There may also be opportunities to grow new crops. We do not have a single assessment of the overall effects on UK food production, as this is influenced not only by the regionalised impacts of climate change, but the reaction of individual businesses to climate change, and their reaction to market changes and other policy levers.