Europe needs to reshape its food and agriculture systems to address climate change
Adverse impacts of climate change are already being felt across Europe. Extreme weather, including recent heatwaves in many parts of the EU are already causing economic losses for farmers and for the EU’s agriculture sector.
These adverse impacts are expected to increase, due to projected climate change, according to the European Environment Agency (EEA) report ‘Climate change adaptation in the agricultural sector in Europe.’
The EEA report stresses that more knowledge, innovation and awareness raising are required to improve the effective use of the already available adaptation measures, like introducing adapted crops, improved irrigation techniques, field margins and agroforestry, crop diversification or precision farming (see the figure).
The EU’s adaptation strategy is a key driver of adaptation actions in Europe. One of its objectives is to mainstream adaptation in various EU policies, including the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). However, adaptation at the farm level often does not take place because of lack of financing, policy support to adapt, institutional capacity and access to adaptation know-how.
New records are being set around the world due to climate change, and the adverse effects of this change are already affecting agricultural production in Europe, especially in the south. Despite some progress, much more must be done to adapt by the sector itself, and especially at farm-level, and future EU policies need to be designed in a way to facilitate and accelerate transition in this sector.
Hans Bruyninckx, EEA Executive Director
The EEA assessment is consistent with the key messages from the recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on climate change and land.
Read the news on the EEA website