Talks on Agriculture and climate change

EU environment and agriculture ministers met in London in September to discuss how climate change will affect farming.

Ministers heard that 10% of EU greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, making it the second largest source after power generation. Emissions from the sector have fallen by around 6% since 1999, largely due to production shifting overseas.

Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer-Boell told ministers that reforming common agricultural policy had already led to reductions and will continue. Further emission cuts are possible through measures such as changing fertiliser application.

Agriculture is also seen as an important carbon sink as forests and soils sequester carbon from the atmosphere. But the UK's Chief Scientist, Sir David King, warned ministers that recent research suggests that soils are less effective at this than previously thought (see p 17 ).

Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett highlighted the contribution agriculture can make through the production of crops for biofuels and bioenergy.

EU initiatives like the biomass action plan due in October and the existing biofuels Directive are set to boost production, though the UK is lagging badly on biofuels (ENDS Report 367, p 38 ).

The other key strand of the summit was adaptation - or helping farmers and farming to cope with conditions resulting from climate change.

"Various regions in Europe will have to adapt to the consequences caused by climate change," said Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas. "In the coming decades, even if we reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, we will be facing further increases and variations in our temperatures, precipitations and extreme weather events."

Ministers heard that while climate change is likely to expand the growing season and range of crops in northern Europe, it could spell disaster for farming in southern Europe. Professor Jacqueline McGlade, head of the European Environment Agency, painted a scenario where farming would have to be abandoned in the area.

Mr Dimas revealed that the next phase of the European climate change programme will place special emphasis on adaptation and reducing vulnerability to climate change.

Related Environmental Services

Powered by ENDS Directory

Compliance Search

Discover all ENDS content in one place, including legislation summaries to keep up to date with compliance deadlines

Compliance Deadlines

Plan ahead with our Calendar feature highlighting upcoming compliance deadlines

Most-read articles

Principal Planner

Leeds is a fast growing city and the main driver of a city region with a £64.6 billion economy.

Senior Landscape Architect, National Environmental Assessment and Sustainability (NEAS)

If you’re part of the Environment Agency, you’re part of the solution.

Environment Team Leader

If you want a role that offers variety and challenge, and to be a part of an organisation that has the sustainable management of natural resources at the core of our purpose, we would love to hear from you.

Project Support Officers (Sustainability), National Environmental Assessment and Sustainability (NEAS)

If you’re part of the Environment Agency, you’re part of the solution.

Senior Environmental Project Managers, National Environmental Assessment and Sustainability (NEAS)

If you’re part of the Environment Agency, you’re part of the solution.

Installations Officer - Control of Major Accidents Hazards (COMAH)

We are looking for two enthusiastic professionals to join our North West Hub Control of Major Accident Hazards (COMAH) Regulatory team as Installations Officers.

Installation Officer

If you’re part of the Environment Agency (EA), you’re part of the solution. Working with us means protecting and improving the environment for generations to come, tackling issues of national importance across a huge variety of disciplines.

Sustainable Development Programme Manager

An exciting opportunity has arisen for a driven and motivated individual to join a forward thinking and dynamic Directorate within Public Health Wales.