Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP6

PICCMAT — Result In Brief

Project ID: 44148
Funded under: FP6-POLICIES
Country: Belgium

Climate change in the hands of agriculture

Initiatives and incentives to make agriculture even greener by cutting greenhouse gas emissions are being researched and communicated to where they are needed – with the farmer.
Climate change in the hands of agriculture
Agriculture is in a unique position – production is very sensitive to climate change and, ironically, it is responsible for a sizeable proportion of greenhouse gas (GHG) production, mainly methane and nitrous oxide. In 2004, it is estimated that the agricultural sector was responsible for 50 % of the methane emissions in Europe. Farm practices responsible for GHG production are gas emission from livestock, manure storage and use of fertilisers, both mineral and organic.

There is however considerable potential within the industry for agricultural practice to reduce this carbon footprint. Soil is one of the most potent carbon sinks when practices like reduced tillage and growing deep-rooted crops are introduced. Set-aside projects where farmers do not plant arable crops such as forestry and land that is allowed to lie fallow make for more mature ecosystems that can develop wildlife populations as well as produce less GHGs.

The EU-funded project 'Policy incentives for climate change mitigation techniques' (Piccmat) aimed to promote identified land management changes to reduce GHG emissions. Amongst the necessary objectives to achieve this goal were providing scientific information for the development of policies, raising awareness in the farming community of adaptation strategies and promoting networking between policymakers and scientists in the field.

The project website is the window to a wealth of information for all stakeholders. There is access to a database with more than 200 references to climate change mitigation techniques in agriculture. There is also a range of Europe-wide case studies outlining barriers and drawbacks encountered while implementing mitigation techniques.

Dissemination of information is probably the main key to the success of the Piccmat initiative. The website gives details of conferences, policies, adaptation and links for lots more information on institutions and organisations working in the field of agriculture and climate change.

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