The new policy recommendation encourages emissions reductions and carbon sequestration

News 2021-06-14 at 8:03
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The Just food project contributed to policy recommendations for cultivated peatlands and mineral lands.

The mitigation of and adaptation to climate change is one of the themes in renewing the EU’s common agricultural policy (CAP). The national CAP plan is being prepared at the time of writing (spring 2021) so research-based information is also needed now.

To respond to this, seven research projects that approach agriculture-related climate issues from different perspectives compiled their views together and sought impact with a joint policy recommendation.

The main message of the recommendation is that the largest and quickest emissions reductions in agriculture can be achieved by making changes to the use of peatlands as approximately half of the greenhouse gas emissions of the primary production of food in Finland come from the cultivation of peatlands. The policy should include incentives for abandoning peatland fields with decreased soil fertility, for instance.

In addition, measures are needed for mineral lands to improve soil fertility and promote carbon sequestration.

As the solutions are ultimately in the hands of the farmers, their views cannot be ignored in policy-making. Indeed, farmers have been heard in several projects and they have provided valuable proposals for measures and their application. Financial support for experimenting with new cultivation methods and compensation for income lost due to climate actions lay a foundation for the acceptability of the measures taken.

Just food explores future changes

The long-term transition towards climate-smart and sustainable agriculture and food system is currently studied in the Just food project also with the means of economic modelling.

“With sector-level agricultural modelling, we are estimating diet, production, income and land use changes in different development pathways in the four major regions of Finland by 2050,” says Heikki Lehtonen, Research Professor at Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).

The findings are currently being edited and worked on and they are expected to be ready in autumn 2021.

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More information

Projects and partners involved in the policy brief

  • SOMPA – Novel soil management practices – key for sustainable bioeconomy and climate change mitigation
  • JUST FOOD – The Just Transition project studies ways to transition to a climate-smart and healthy food system in a sustainable, acceptable and just manner.
  • MULTA – Multi-benefit solutions to climate-smart agriculture
  • RATU – Economically feasible alternatives to management of deep peat soils in agriculture
  • OPAL-Life – Optimizing agricultural land use to mitigate climate change
  • CANEMURE – Towards Carbon Neutral Municipalities and Regions
  • Turvepäästö – Mitigation of environmental load in crop production on peat soils

Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, Baltic Sea Action Group BSAG, E2 Research, Tyrsky Consulting, University of Jyväskylä

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