Anthropogenic climate change is a product of our patterns of behaviour and the choices we make; whether as consumers or, in the case of farmers, as land managers and producers. This session convened by IEEP at COP24 of the UNFCCC identified the common threads that could help in changing our behaviour and in the transformation of the agricultural sector. Read more and download presentations here.
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On 7 December (10:30-14:30), IEEP will be convening a discussion at COP24 of the UNFCCC on the role of agriculture in delivering net zero emissions by 2050. IEEP is collaborating with CCCA, FEEDBACK, AGRICORD, IIED, SNV, Joanneum Reasearch, IFFA, and the FAO’s Forest and Farm Facility to deliver a wider ranging discussion on agriculture’s role in climate action.
Just days before the next round of international climate negotiations in Katowice, Poland the European Commission outlined its vision for a clean, carbon neutral Europe by mid-century. This is a first but crucial step in launching the discussion on the EU’s contribution to the worldwide effort towards keeping the global temperature increase well below 2 degrees C and potentially limit it to 1.5 degrees.
Half a degree may not sound that much but it can be a matter of life or death in the context of climate change. This is one of the headline messages of the recent IPCC special report, “Global warming of 1.5 °C”, which is based on the assessment of the latest scientific literature. The report confirms the urgency to act in order to avoid often irreversible consequences for human well-being, ecosystems and sustainable development. But what does this mean for agriculture in general and for the EU farming sector in particular? What kind of challenges would the sector face in a 1.5 °C or 2 °C world? And how can the farming sector contribute to keeping global temperature increase below 1.5°C?
The IPCC Special Report on 1.5C has confirmed that much more concerted action to combat climate change is required if we are to avoid the worst effects of global warming. The report underscores that solutions are available, but they must be employed without delay.
Although the EU has an aspirational goal of an 80-95% GHG emissions cut for 2050, compared to 1990 levels, currently planned measures and intermediate goals are not in-line even with the low end of this aim. Additionally, the EU would have to over perform if 1.5 degrees were the aim, as developing economies cannot realistically be expected to reduce emissions as quickly.
Current policies are not enough to deliver the Paris Agreement ambition to limit warming to 1.5 degrees. Preparation of a European strategy on long-term decarbonisation of the economy is a critical opportunity for a step change. To seize it, we need a strategy which considers the economy as a whole, and draws the lessons for early action and investment in each sector.
Leading up to IEEP's Think 2030 conference, experts express their views on Europe's most pressing sustainability issues in the Think 2030 blog series, Pathways to 2030.
The second edition of Pathways to 2030 features Johanna Nyman, Policy Analyst for IEEP, who discusses the urgent need of climate change and ecosystem degradation to be considered as security risks to international peace and security.
While Europe is experiencing another record hot summer, climate litigation is moving forward in the EU and US. The European General Court has just accepted the first EU wide climate change case, presented by plaintiffs as the People’s Climate Case and was published in the European Union Official Journal today. This is an important initial step in the proceeding which is part of a wave of climate litigation composed of similar suits made against the governments of the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Colombia, Ireland, the UK, Switzerland, Norway, New Zealand, and the US.
Today, the Commission starts putting some flesh on the bones of its plans for EU spending after 2020. Their communication earlier in May set out some broad principles, which we commented on here. Over the next week or so, they will be publishing detailed legislative proposals for the different programmes; and regional affairs Commissioner Corina Crețu set the ball rolling by announcing proposals for cohesion spending.
The Commission has set out its initial proposals for the next “Multi-Annual Financial Framework” – the planning period for the EU budget which sets the priorities for spending, and shares out EU money between programmes and Member States. We’ve been examining what’s at stake for the environment, sustainable development, and Europe’s future.
European countries have developed a wide range of policies to encourage climate mitigation through land use “sinks”; but as the land use sector is brought fully into the EU’s climate targets, policies will need to be more ambitious, and more focused on results.
There is mounting interest in biomass to provide heat, power and, transport fuels but also as a basis for alternative products for replacing plastics, and other fossil fuel derived commodities. How can the bioeconomy and the bioenergy sector evolve to deliver sustainable, coordinated and efficient use of resources?
Circular economy policies are proliferating and increasingly linked with other policy areas, including climate change. As seen at COP23, the circular economy can be better exploited to decarbonise the economy.
If caring for the planet starts from the ground, then caring for the planet starts with farmers, foresters and all others who manage and use the EU’s soils. It follows that the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), as a major driver of the decisions made by Europe’s 12 million farmers, is critical to securing responsible, long term management of our soils and related ecosystem services.
The European Commission launched its long expected Communication on ‘the Future of Food and Farming’ on 29 November. Read IEEP’s initial reaction.
The first meeting of the EU Stakeholder Platform for the European Climate Foundation's (ECF) Agriculture net-zero 2050 projectwill take place on the 29th of November in Brussels. Event will discuss the main climate-related drivers of change in the agriculture and land using sectors. Building on the discussions, subsequent phases of the project will investigate what possible transition pathways could look like and what would need to change to enable them to be realised in practice.
While the stand-off on agriculture is continuing between developed and developing countries within climate negotiations, there is a growing consensus among experts that agriculture --and more generally the land use sector--needs to rise at the top of UNFCCC agenda.
The Commission’s renewed strategy on EU outermost regions puts forward a new approach to foster development and appears rather ‘green’, acknowledging the ORs’ rich biodiversity as a unique natural asset.
Europe needs to ratchet up its climate goals to deliver climate mitigation targets. At the UNFCCC's COP 23, IEEP will lead two side events looking at the role of land use and the agricultural sector in delivering this ambition. What will net zero emissions for agriculture look like, what policies are important in delivering Europe’s land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) goals? What is the role of agricultural policy?