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FACCE MACSUR knowledge hub: The Paris Agreement challenge for agricultural research - less greenhouse gas emissions and more food

MACSUR press release on Paris Agreement
© Janne Lehtinen / Luke
In Paris, nearly 200 nations agreed to implement measures to keep the expected climate warming well below 2 degrees. That agreement will come into force in 2020. It is very good news given previous IPCC assessments indicate that impacts on agriculture and food security by global warming greater than 2°C would be severe.

The agreement will have clear implications for the research agenda of assessing climate change effects on agriculture. In addition to looking now also more confidently at transformational adaptation to climate change, research now should also break new ground in emphasizing sustainable, and more effective measures to mitigate the release of greenhouse gases from agricultural activities and to store carbon in biomass and soils.

The knowledge hub FACCE MACSUR, comprising 300 researchers from 18, mostly European countries, has studied climate change risks and their impacts and adaptations at European and regional levels. At regional level there have been so far also some efforts to explore  mitigation and adaptation options,  integrating aspects of crop production, livestock systems, and socio-economy.

Large potentials for mitigation of GHG emissions exist for a number of agricultural activities, e.g. in the livestock sector, the management of soils by tillage, irrigation, and cropping system adjustment, and also in consumption, e.g. with the choice of the proportion of meat preferred by humans. All measures, however, must be carefully and locally/regionally weighed against various tradeoffs with required increase in food production for a growing global population, economic costs, and environmental impact.

Some first results of such integrated regional analyses will be presented at the global AdaptationFutures 2016 conference 13-16 May in Rotterdam.