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Carbon farming: Making agriculture fit for 2030

AUTHORS: Hugh McDonald (Ecologic Institute), Ana Frelih-Larsen (Ecologic Institute), Laurens Duin (Ecologic Institute), Anna Lorant, Sarah Pyndt Andersen, Giulia Costa Domingo, Harriet Bradley, Gabrielle Aubert

Carbon farming refers to sequestering and storing carbon and/or reducing greenhouse gas emissions at farm level. It offers significant but uncertain mitigation potential in the EU, can deliver co-benefits to farmers and society, but also carries risks that need to be managed.

This study, produced by Ecologic Institute and IEEP on behalf of the European Parliament, identifies opportunities and constraints for carbon farming, options for financing, and open questions that need to be resolved to scale up carbon farming in a way that delivers robust climate mitigation and the EU’s Green Deal objectives.

Key messages

  • As a management practice, carbon farming offers significant potential in Europe to mitigate climate change and deliver other benefits; promoting the widescale implementation of agricultural climate mitigation should be a priority for the EU.
  • Carbon farming should deliver societal co-benefits (including biodiversity, soil health, water quality, and others). There is a risk that poorly implemented carbon farming could negatively impact other societal objectives.
  • Carbon farming mitigation must be permanent.
  • Incentivising carbon farming can be done through different models and payment structures. The different opportunities and risks should be carefully considered when scaling up payments.
  • There is a need for further development of carbon farming monitoring methods, and increased practical experience, and improved assessments of carbon farming potential to increase knowledge and reduce barriers to carbon farming uptake.
  • By setting dedicated emission reduction and sequestration targets to the agriculture and LULUCF sectors, the EU climate policy could provide clear incentives for carbon farming actions addressing both agricultural CO2 and non-CO2 emissions.

This document was provided by the Policy Department for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies at the request of the committee on Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI).

The original source to the study is available here.

© Photo by Raphael Rychetsky on Unsplash

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