Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Finlay Carson says the agriculture industry must be supported as efforts continue to reduce emissions.
The Scottish Conservative and Unionist MSP’s call came during his speech as the Climate Change Bill made progress in the Scottish Parliament.
Mr Carson helped to shape the Stage 1 report as a member of the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee, hearing evidence form a wide-ranging amount of stakeholders from world renowned climate scientists to school children activists.
While Mr Carson is supportive of the Bill, he believes that it cannot be done to the detriment of the farming industry, who should be seen as part of the solution.
In his speech, Mr Carson highlighted the need to support livestock production in Scotland, as well as driving forward innovation and technology to sustain the agriculture industry.
He said: “I hope that the Government will allocate the time that is needed to ensure that we have good and robust legislation that ensures that we can make the right choices for Scotland and the global environment.
“By “the right choices”, I mean policy decisions that consider the wider implications, such as by ensuring that displacement of production does not occur by pushing demand-driven production to other parts of the world where the impacts are more damaging.
“A forced reduction in livestock production in Scotland, for example, would result only in the demand for meat being met by increased imports—potentially from South America, which would result in further reduction of our invaluable rain forests.
“We need to change the narrative when it comes to agriculture and land use. Innovation and technology can be at the heart not only of emissions reduction targets but of a new revived and economically sustainable agriculture industry.
“We must seize new opportunities. I call on the Scottish Government to place greater emphasis on developing new technologies, and to give a clear commitment to action that drives private investment and accelerates change.”
Speaking afterwards, Finlay Carson MSP said: “We all accept that climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing us all, but we must tackle reducing emissions in the right way.
“Our farming sector has a major role to play, but only if they get the right support and knowledge when it comes to reducing greenhouse gases.
“The industry can be at the forefront of the efforts that will see innovative ways of helping to combat emissions and I will continue to press the Scottish Government to fund the resources for new technology in the fight against climate change.”