Climate Change on the Eve of Horizon 2020

Thursday 14 September 2017

For some time now, the issue of climate change and its consequences has been a matter of concern. It is particularly present nowadays in various national policies, as we saw with the United States’ exit from the Paris Agreement announced by President Donald Trump in June and which has been strongly criticized by the international community[1]. More recently, Emmanuel Macron, the French president, expressed his willingness to include climate in his country's diplomatic efforts, particularly through scientific partnerships[2]. Even China, first in greenhouse gas emissions in 2013, seems to be pushing in this direction, obviously ready to assert itself as a leader in the field.

While this was already a growing concern, the accumulation of natural disasters in recent years has brought climate change back to the forefront. One could look at the dramatic summer of 2017 and wonder; between monstrous forest fires in Portugal, France, but also in the United States and directly attributable to the drought of an increasingly hot summer, devastating hurricanes on the United States[3] [4] and a disastrous global harvest, the record is worrisome.

The main source of carbon emissions in the world is, of course, fossil fuels, of which we remain extremely dependent. Efforts made by governments to turn to renewable alternatives such as solar energy - China has just installed a record number of photovoltaic panels[5] - wind turbines or biofuel should be acknowledged. Following the Paris agreement of 2015, the European institutions launched several initiatives to mitigate climate change.
The European Union calls for the renewal of agricultural practices. Agriculture being responsible for an important part of carbon emissions in the world, logic would have us think about a way to change the situation. Agriculture can and must therefore be one of the levers of the fight against climate change. Much progress has already been made by European farmers but much remains to be done. This includes raising awareness and training them in order to support the implementation of new agricultural practices. The first question is whether agriculture can emit less Co2 while remaining efficient. The answer is yes, in particular through several agro-ecological practices. This is particularly true of agroforestry, which maximizes the yield of an agricultural land while at the same time achieving environmental benefits through interaction between trees, crops and / or animals. This idea is not revolutionary since agroforestry is in fact an ancestral method of agriculture.
The Agrof-MM[6] project is part of this approach, with the objectives, among other things, of training 130 to 150 agricultural professionals in Europe over three years, and of improving and developing the education tools which will allow the agroforestry training to be long-lasting.

The next UN conference in Bonn taking place from 6 to 17 November, on the issue of climate change and the implementation of the Paris Accord guidelines, will be the occasion to put forward this kind of sustainable initiatives in agriculture, as in all sectors of the economy, in an effort to face this global challenge.







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