FOREIGN AGRICULTURAL SERVICE
In December 2008 the European Parliament and the Council agreed on a package that would help transform the EU into a low carbon economy and increase energy security.
The EU authorities based their action on scientific reports that shows that to help prevent the world’s temperatures rising more than 2°C, the level increasingly thought by scientists to be the point of no return, global emissions of greenhouse gases must peak before 2020 and then be cut by at least 50% of their 1990 levels by 2050. The EU has committed itself to increase the share of renewable energy and energy efficiency by at least 20%, and to reduce its overall emissions to at least 20% below the 1990 levels by 2020. Moreover EU has committed itself to decrease the emissions by 30% by 2020 if other developed countries make comparable efforts under a global climate change agreement.
In October 2009, the EU Council adopted a conclusion on the EU position ahead of the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. At the Conference it is intended that a new global agreement should be concluded for the years following 2012. One of the long term targets for the EU is to achieve 80-90% emissions reduction by 2050 compared to 1990 levels. Another feature of the agreement is to clarify EU views on how to combat deforestation and conduct sustainable forestry as well as of the contributions on the agricultural and forestry sectors to achieve the climate goals.
The EU authorities were persuaded by evidence that some of the effects of climate change in the EU is that there will be decreasing average annual and seasonal rainfall in many regions, mainly the southern parts of the EU which are already often subject to water scarcity. There are also expected to be more sudden heat waves, droughts, storms and floods. Some impacts of climate change are expected to be positive for specific northern countries, although most impacts are expected to be negative and affect regions that are already suffering.
The EU has been taking steps to address Green House Gas (GHG) emissions since the 1990’s, and has reached the Kyoto target for EU15 of cutting the GHG emissions by 8%. The first European Climate Change Program (ECCP) was adopted in 2000. One of the steps taken to curb GHG emissions is to ensure environmentally friendly land use planning and agriculture.
In the EU agriculture is seen as both part of the problem and part of the solution, according to EU reports. Agriculture emissions in EU27 fell by 20% between 1990 and 2006. Agriculture emitted 9.2% of total GHG emissions in EU27 in 2005. The decrease in GHG emissions in the EU were due to a decline in livestock numbers, more efficient application of fertilizers and better manure management.