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Regenerative agriculture will stop climate change? New EASAC report

Industrial agriculture harms the natural environment and is responsible for a large portion of greenhouse gas emissions. The solution may be agricultural production, which combines production with the protection and restoration of ecosystems. This is what the new report of the European National Academies of Sciences says, "Regenerative Agriculture in Europe".

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The world's food system is based on agricultural production. However, intensive cultivation has resulted in deforestation and land conversion, as well as water and air pollution. One-third of greenhouse gas emissions that drive global climate change come from agriculture.

Protection and reconstruction

The answer to this problem is regenerative farming, that is, cultivation that protects and restores agricultural land and its surrounding ecosystems. In a joint report, representatives of the European Academies of Sciences analyzed how agricultural production can be transformed on a global scale in line with the assumptions of regenerative agriculture.

Scientists from the European Academies’ Science Advisory Council (EASAC) were looking for answers to several questions:

  • Will the transformation of the global food system reduce climate pollution (through investment in research and innovation and small farms)?
  • Will the proposed changes allow us to provide food for the world’s growing population and help avoid poverty?
  • Will the changes facilitate access to healthy food and at the same time increase biodiversity?

Untapped potential

“Transforming agriculture is the planet’s greatest untapped treasure for coping with the climate crisis. Today’s large-scale conventional agriculture has a huge negative impact on soil. Soil erosion, the loss of flora and fauna and thereby nutrients in soils, has become a major factor in Europe,” explains Prof. Thomas Elmqvist, one of the lead authors of the EASAC report. The report shows that restoring biodiversity in soils, particularly in grasslands can dramatically increase their capacity to capture and store carbon.

“We need to get industrial farmers on board and take a landscape perspective to reach the goals. Ultimately, we can only protect the scale of food production by moving away from only emphasizing quantity of agricultural production to more quality and nutritional value of agricultural products”.

The report takes into account EU strategies:

  • biodiversity, i.e. a long-term nature protection plan
  • Farm-to-Fork, which is the transition to more sustainable agriculture

The above strategies are assessed by the report as steps in the right direction. However, it was emphasized that so far governments have done little to implement these assumptions.

Read the full text of the EASAC report on “Regenerative Agriculture in Europe”.

The European Academies’ Science Advisory Council (EASAC)

EASAC was established by the national academies of science of the European Union Member States, Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. It aims to provide independent, expert, evidence-based advice to European policymakers on the scientific aspects of European policies. Through EASAC, academies collaborate and give the collective voice of European science. The Polish Academy of Sciences has been a member of the Committee since 2004. One of the co-authors of the report is Prof. Piotr Tryjanowski.

Source of information: EASAC