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Agriculture

A profound rethink of how we produce food and operate global food chains and related industrial processing sectors is needed to make them resilient and sustainable. Much more must be done to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions as well as their pressures on water resources and biodiversity — efforts which are currently almost stagnant — according to European Environment Agency (EEA) briefings on agriculture and food systems, published today.

Pesticides can end up in rivers, lakes and groundwaters, with potential to harm aquatic ecosystems and water quality. The European Environment Agency’s (EEA) new indicator, which aims to track Europe’s progress in reducing pesticides in waters, shows that excessive levels of pesticides have been recorded in a considerable share of European freshwaters.

Published: 06 Oct 2022

While global food chains, market competition, industrial processes and increasing productivity have turned agriculture into a profitable economic sector, it is also one of the biggest contributors to environmental and sustainability challenges in Europe and worldwide. In tandem, the COVID-19 pandemic, recent geopolitical developments in Europe and socio-economic trends have driven attention towards agriculture and food systems. Considering these new challenges, it is even more urgent to rethink agriculture and food systems to make them resilient and sustainable. This briefing reflects on what makes agriculture unsustainable today — and the types of agriculture we may want to preserve and support.

Published: 06 Oct 2022

While total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the EU have fallen by a third since 1990, reducing emissions in the agriculture sector has been a slower process and has stagnated since 2005. Based on EU countries’ current policies and measures, this trend is projected to continue, with only a 1.5% decrease expected between 2020 and 2040. This briefing explores two recent studies from the European Environment Agency (EEA) looking at current efforts to reduce emissions in the agriculture sector — and prospects for further reductions during the agri-food life cycle.

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