At all levels of agricultural regulation -national, European, and international- important changes are required to be able to address the challenges of climate change. Climate-smart agriculture(CSA) is crucial, on the one hand, to mitigate climate damage to the agricultural sector and, on the other hand, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as increase the food production for the growing world population. However, the legal instruments to stimulate CSA are absent or are inadequately developed.
This is the conclusion of Jonathan Verschuuren, Professor of International and European Environmental Law at Tilburg University, the Netherlands, based on a two-year study into climate-smart agriculture.
According to current estimates, the global demand for food will increase by 40-60% between now and 2050. However, the required increase in food production will be hard to achieve because of the impact of climate change and will, moreover, lead to more greenhouse gas emissions. Even now, 25% of these emissions worldwide can be attributed to agriculture. Addressing the three challenges of growing food production, climate change, and CO2 reduction in concert requires a transition of the world's farming sector to become "climate-smart". Jonathan Verschuuren studied the measures to stimulate this transition.
One of the few countries in the world where some experience exists with regulations to stimulate climate-smart agriculture is Australia. Verschuuren's research there has led to the following conclusions.
The European Union's measures so far are woefully inadequate to make the agricultural sector resilient, Verschuuren says. He therefore makes the following recommendations.
Verschuuren's research, entitled Towards a regulatory framework for climate smart agriculture, was funded by a Marie Sklodowska-Curie global fellowship within the EU's Horizon 2020 research program. A summary is availableonline.