December 8, 2015
EU farmers cite role in fight vs climate change
European farmers stressed their commitment and contribution to fighting climate change and called for a strong legally binding agreement that includes all major economies around the globe.
Speaking at an event in Paris where the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is being held, Martin Merrild, president of the European farmers' group Copa, said the European farming community "is part of the solution in tackling climate change".
"Innovative solutions that reduce the climate footprint whilst also increasing the output of food, feed and bio-based products can serve as a model and inspiration for farmers and their cooperatives all over the world", he said.
He added, "Perhaps the best European solutions can be found in areas such as crop production, animal feed, breeding techniques and using co-products such as straw and slurry. Any environmentally successful agreement in Paris must focus on research and on adaptation and mitigation".
Merrild also stressed the need for better water management including water supply, irrigation and drainage.
Climate change threat to agriculture
"We need to better understand and improve synergies between livestock production and grassland management. This would have a big impact on carbon sequestration and on efficient livestock production", the Copa president also pointed out.
Merrild mentioned the global threat that climate change poses to agriculture and food security. "For every degree Celsius increase in temperature, our soy and corn production are set to fall by 17 percent", he explained. "It is very clear that in Europe, we also need to produce more with less, to feed the world and to avoid the serious social and political instability that has been seen so many times in our history".
Merrild also welcomed the strong commitment made by French Premier Minister Manuel Valls to support farmers and cooperatives and "our fight against climate change".
He said EU farmers and their cooperatives "have already significantly contributed to meeting the challenges of climate change. Frankly, the last thing we now need is for farmers to be squeezed by the consequences of climate change on their production and the negative effects of the new policies imposed on them. Since 1990, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from farming have fallen by 23%, while sectors like transport have actually seen their impact rise. This must be taken into account".