Symposium: Addressing the Climate Challenge - What can Agriculture do? Ideas from Europe and Beyond
The final symposium of the PICCMAT project (Policy Incentives for Climate Change Mitigation Agricultural Techniques) on 28 October 2008 in Brussels generated high interest among stakeholders. The agricultural sector will be under increased pressure in the future to contribute to the realization of ambitious climate change mitigation targets. Almost 90 participants from the farming, policy and scientific communities engaged in discussions on potential ways forward. The PICCMAT policy recommendations are available for download.
PICCMAT results and recommendations
Key results of the PICCMAT project were presented at the symposium, including an analysis of farm-level practices for climate change mitigation in agriculture, and a quantification of their mitigation potential across Europe. The PICCMAT policy recommendations suggest that climate change mitigation should be promoted as part of integrated strategic plans for sustainable agriculture. Different policy instruments are proposed. The protection of existing carbon stocks in agricultural soils and ecosystems should be a priority for policy action.
In Europe and the world, different initiatives are underway to reduce the climate impact of agriculture. Representatives of the UNFCCC and the European Commission presented efforts undertaken in the international policy framework. Participants learned about agricultural mitigation activities in New Zealand, the United States, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, the UK and Spain, and about the results of related research projects such as MEACAP, ADAGIO and CC-Tame.
Key messages from the discussion
Discussions during the conference showed that there is sufficient knowledge to start action. No-regret measures that do not cause extra costs but bring multiple benefits can be implemented immediately. Action by farmers should be stimulated through enhanced information and cooperation. Major changes in agricultural systems, for instance in Eastern Europe, should be used as an opportunity to integrate innovative and climate-friendly techniques at an early stage. The large climate impact of meat production cannot be addressed without changes in consumption patterns. International accounting systems for agricultural greenhouse gas emissions may need to be reformed to better reflect mitigation action.
The symposium’s agenda, presentations and photos can be accessed at the PICCMAT website.
Photos: Karin Beese