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Assessment of EU agricultural GHG mitigation policies highlights production effects and costs

Graphic of a field with a tractor and the sun in the background
Jul 20 2016

The JRC examined the potential evolution of non-CO2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from EU agriculture. The findings are published in the EcAMPA 2 report, and stem from a modelling exercise assessing several mitigation policy options developed for the Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development. This report has contributed to the impact assessment accompanying legislative proposal on the integration of land use and forestry into the EU 2030 Climate and Energy Framework, published by the Commission on 20 July 2016.

While agricultural GHG emissions fell by 24% in the EU since 1990, the rate of decrease slowed significantly over the last decade. Likewise, under the baseline scenario, agricultural GHG emissions in the EU are projected to decline by only another 2.3% between 2005 and 2030. By analysing illustrative mitigation policy scenarios, the EcAMPA 2 study assesses the impact of emission reduction targets on production, technology adoption, prices and global emission levels.

According to EcAMPA 2, imposing mitigation targets on EU agriculture without providing additional financial support could significantly reduce domestic production, especially in the livestock sector. Moreover, emission leakage (i.e. an increase in emissions elsewhere as a result of mitigation efforts in the EU) could considerably diminish the net effect on global GHG emissions as the reduction would be partially offset by production increases in other parts of the world.

Providing financial support to farmers that adopt technological (i.e. technical and management based) mitigation options could significantly reduce adverse effects on production and emission leakage as farmers are projected to widely adopt the technologies, albeit with considerable budgetary impacts.

The results of the study, with its specific assumptions, should be considered as indicative, and the policy scenarios within EcAMPA 2 are of an exploratory nature. Nevertheless, the study gives important insights regarding the agricultural sector in the EU 2030 policy framework for climate and energy.