Addressing the climate challenge - what can agriculture do? Ideas from Europe and beyond"
The PICCMAT final symposium took place in Brussels on 28 October 2008, offering a great opportunity for stakeholders and policy makers to exchange their views on mitigation in the agricultural sector. The different PowerPoint presentations are available by clicking on the speakers’ names.
In a first session, Fernando Castellanos Silveira from the UNFCCC introduced the global framework on Climate change mitigation and the Bali action plan. Then, Ms Hilka Summa from EC DG Agri presented the tendencies of GHG emissions in EU agriculture and the existing policy instruments influencing the emissions trend. Two special guests from New Zealand (Harry Clark) and the United States (Eldor Paul) came to Brussels to explain the approaches adopted in their countries. While the share of agriculture in total GHG emissions in New Zealand reaches 48%, and the sector represents 17% of the GDP, an Emission Trading Scheme is being put in place. In the USA, different policies relate to CC mitigation, more or less directly. The strong development of biofuels is however not considered as a long term mitigation policy (which is not its objective); a significant decrease in N2O emissions seems possible to achieve. In both countries, interesting similarities with some EU countries exist, such as the situation of the Republic of Ireland which is, in some ways, comparable to the one of New Zealand.
In a second session, the PICCMAT project partners presented the main results of the project. Pete Smith from the University of Aberdeen enlarged the project results to the IPCC work at global scale to stress the mitigation potential in agriculture worldwide and the need for immediate action in order to limit the global temperature raise as much as possible, explaining the next 10-20 years will be critical to this aim. Peter Kuikman, from Alterra (Wageningen University), explained that the combined effect of 11 mitigation measures in Europe is a significant contribution to EU goals (results of the Miterra model on a number of CC mitigation practices identified in the PICCMAT project), but that measures and mitigation potential are region specific, and specific policy packages need to be designed. Anna Leipprand from Ecologic then presented the main policy recommendations of the PICCMAT project: preservation of existing Carbon stocks, integrated rural development policy, promotion of CC mitigation practices at farm level, among others.
The session was then opened to 3 related research projects that are linked to PICCMAT and can use its results: MEACAP (Bernhard Osterburg), Adagio (Josef Eitzinger) and CC-TAME (Naomi Pena).
In the third session, five experiences from five European countries were presented, in order to offer a menu of possible approaches to policy makers, so that they know what is possible, what is being experimented, and therefore can build on this for their own national/regional policy design. Jorgen Olesen from the University of Aarhus presented the example of Denmark, which agriculture is already highly efficient. Ida Smit from SenterNovem, explained the ‘Seeing is believing’ approach in the Netherlands, where farmers are the ambassadors of new farming practices to reduce GHG emissions and increase carbon stocks. Veerle Campens from the Flemish Department for Agriculture and Fisheries described the region’s programme as regard to greenhouses, manure management, renewable energy, afforestation and livestock decrease policy. The ‘Motif’ on-farm sustainability tool was also explained as a mean for farmers to engage a change in their practices. Paul Bradley from the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs presented the Climate Change Bill and the different possible contributions from the agricultural sector to mitigation in the UK. Finally, in the last presentation Consuelo Varela from the Polytechnic University of Madrid enlarged the discussion to the need for adaptation in Spain as regard to water scarcity.
The last session was an open discussion on the different issues treated during the day, led by the symposium chair Mr Tom Burke.
The symposium full agenda is available here.
Photos of the event are available here.
Olivier Beucher, Baastel, PICCMAT coordinator, on behalf of the PICCMAT consortium
The PICCMAT project team warmly thanks all speakers for their contribution to the symposium success, and all participants for their great interest and interventions during the discussions.