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How to prepare European agriculture for climate change?

Victim, culprit and solution to climate change, agriculture must be rethought today in order to face the challenges of the future. Faced with global temperature increases, droughts, floods and the proliferation of bio-aggressors, how can agriculture be rethought? 

Finding more resistant species

Faced with climate change, professionals in the horticultural sector are beginning to offer plants that meet these new challenges. In Douville in the Dordogne, aid was paid to Ciref. Under the ERDF, this aid will finance the construction of a new glass greenhouse to find new, less fragile and more disease-resistant alternatives to the wild strawberry. The objective is to anticipate climate change and its consequences.

Creating energy from organic matter

Methanisation offers a sustainable solution to the challenge of energy production. Existing organic materials (plant, animal, bacterial), after being transformed into biogas by fermentation, are then burned. The biogas produced is close to natural gas and consists mainly of methane. This initiative is supported by the EAFRD through calls for projects such as the “Support for methanisation” call. Proposed in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, this call provides financial support for the creation of territorial methanisation units.

Storing carbon in soils

Launched in December 2015 at COP21, the 4 for 1000 initiative aims to put in place concrete actions on soil carbon storage through agro-ecology, agro-forestry, conservation agriculture and landscape management. An annual growth rate of 0.4% per year, or 4 per thousand, of the carbon stock in the soil would stop the increase in CO2 consumption in the atmosphere due to human activities. This initiative has been included in the annual thematic programme of FACCE JPI, whose mission is to ensure that the content of national calls for projects on the storage of organic matter in soils is the same.

There is a great deal of initiatives to prepare European agriculture for climate change. Member States are showing a certain voluntarism. Europe accounts for 13% of greenhouse gas emissions, a relatively low figure compared to China and the United States, which account for around 20%. This energy transition is supported by regional European funding programmes such as the ERDF, EAFRD and EAFRD, which regularly launch calls for projects, as well as international initiatives such as the 4 per 1000 initiative. It is also supported by European citizens who are increasingly interested in these issues. According to a 2017 Eurobarometer (a Europe-wide survey organised by the Commission), this subject is considered as “important” or “very important” by 94% of Europeans. European climate initiatives must therefore continue to be taken.


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