News report

Agriculture and Climate Change: Possibilities to Reduce Agricultural Emissions

On the 30th of January 2020, CEEweb for Biodiversity organised its second national workshop for Hungarian stakeholders as part of the EUKI project, ‘An unavoidable step after Paris: Cutting emissions from farming’. Almost fifty participants attended the workshop with diverse backgrounds: farmers, representatives of environmental NGOs, the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture, university professors and the general public with an interest in the urging issues around farming in the age of climate change. They discussed about the future Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Union.

The EUKI workshop has provided a great opportunity for various stakeholder groups to gain a better knowledge on the possibilities to have a truly low-carbon, sustainable EU and national agriculture, to hear the most up-to-date details on the progress towards a new 7-year Common Agricultural Policy and to share personal experience and ideas with others.

presentation during conference

Multiple stakeholders attended the conference in Budapest. Photo: CEEweb

The EUKI project recommends a number of measures such as a reduction of the number of farm animals, an EU-wide adoption of agroecological approaches, support for implementation of best practices on farms, protection and restoration of vulnerable and high value ecosystems and a diversification of the agricultural sector. Whether these recommendations will eventually find their way to the new EU agricultural legislation and to the national CAP Strategic Plans is yet to be seen. What is evident at this point is that neither the current state of European biodiversity, nor the deteriorating status of farmland soils, nor the constantly high level of agricultural emissions can wait any longer for a progressive, positive change to happen. This change will have to go beyond words on paper and materialise in the everyday farming practices and their efficient enforcement on an EU-, as well as a Member State-level.

presentation during conference

The participants discussed agricultural policies. Photo: CEEweb

The interrelated nature of agriculture and climate change has received increased attention in Hungary in recent months. Last year, Hungary’s Minister of Agriculture, Dr István Nagy has spoken on various occasions and has given multiple interviews on the challenges that climate change means to agriculture and especially to Hungarian farmers. He especially called attention to the necessity of adapting to the changed environmental and climatic conditions. Furthermore, he introduced new measures with increased funding to reduce emissions from agriculture, food production and food waste. These were mostly related to afforestation and technological modernisations in the agricultural sector.

The EUKI project runs since November 2017 with the Brussels-based European Environmental Bureau as implementing organisation and six more organisations as project partners: BirdLife Europe, BirdWatch Ireland, France Nature Environnement, Germanwatch, International Institute for Law and the Environment (IIDMA) and CEEweb for Biodiversity, representing six EU Member States: Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Spain and Hungary. The project aims to create an increased public and political awareness around the need for an ambitious legislative framework on climate and agriculture. Knowledge sharing and inclusive stakeholders’ dialogue are key to disseminate experience, policy recommendations and gain valuable feedback from various stakeholder groups.

Project publication

Policy Brief: Agriculture and Climate Change