In the existing and upcoming EU policies on agriculture and food, we recommend emphasising sustainable production practices that increase nature-based carbon sinks and allow further emission reductions in the sector. Several agricultural practices, technologies, and dietary shifts provide sector-specific carbon sequestration and emission reduction potential. Our recommendation is to view the land use need in a holistic way where in addition to agriculture and food production other future land use needs including renewable energy; particularly onshore wind and solar energy, biofuels and biomaterials, biodiversity protection, and ecosystem conservation are taken into consideration (see CLC Position paper on land use and nature based carbon removals). Sustainable transformation of the whole food system is necessary to feed the growing global population, mitigate climate change, and ensure the future availability of these scarce land use resources. Creating sustainable food system requires immediate investments in sustainable food production technologies and farming practices that increase carbon sinks and reduce unnecessary land use requirements as well as emissions. In this paper, we highlight the potential in the agricultural sector regarding carbon sequestration and efficient land use. Successful implementation requires technology and innovation development, financial support, and policies at the EU level.
– Re-structure incentives in the agricultural sector in the EU to better financially support sustainable food production, and thus help increase the affordability, accessibility and availability of healthy, nutritious and environmentally friendly food.
– Market-based solutions can help create financially and sustainably viable agricultural system. Efficient carbon pricing and transparent marketplace for carbon sinks are needed to supporting farmers and society to decarbonize the food system.
– Support technology and research development in the agricultural sector (e.g. vertical farming, plant-based protein, cell-based agriculture) to assist actors in the supply chain of sustainable food production.
– The new CAP implementation period for 2025 onwards should support and promote increasing carbon sinks and storages, help reduce emissions in the agricultural sector and reduce the land use requirements. It is particularly important to ensure alignment with EU Sustainable Finance Taxonomy in the future.
Please read the full CLC Position paper: Agriculture and food production – in the beginning of the transformation here.
For more information, please contact CLC Development Director, Systemic Climate Solutions, Juha Turkki (juha.turkki(a)clc.fi).