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Major challenges of integrating agriculture into climate change mitigation policy frameworks

Taking the European Union (EU) as a case study, we simulate the application of non-uniform national mitigation targets to achieve a sectoral reduction in agricultural non-carbon dioxide (CO2) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Scenario results show substantial impacts on EU agricultural production, in particular, the livestock sector. Significant increases in imports and decreases in exports result in rather moderate domestic consumption impacts but induce production increases in non-EU countries that are associated with considerable emission leakage effects. The results underline four major challenges for the general integration of agriculture into national and global climate change mitigation policy frameworks and strategies, as they strengthen requests for (1) a targeted but flexible implementation of mitigation obligations at national and global level, and (2) the need for a wider consideration of technological mitigation options. The results also indicate that a globally effective reduction in agricultural emissions requires (3) multilateral commitments for agriculture to limit emission leakage, and may have to (4) consider options that tackle the reduction in GHG emissions from the consumption side.