Since natural processes, such as livestock manure, gastro-enteric releases and land use, are key sources of methane emissions, agriculture is considered a hard-to-abate sector. In addition, fertilisers have an adverse impact on climate through the release of nitrous oxide. There are however off-the-shelf solutions to reduce emissions from agrifood systems, including fuel switching and efficiency gains through automation. Thanks to efficiency gains, it has been possible to reduce the emission intensity (the level of GHGs released per kg of product) of specific food commodities (see Figure 2). EU production of pork and chicken meat, as well as cow milk and cereals (rice excluded), have decreased in emission intensity in recent decades. According to calculations by the European Topic Centre on Climate Change Mitigation, policies and measures currently in place are expected to prompt only a 1.5 % reduction in the agricultural sector’s emissions between now and 2040.
Figure 2 − EU-27 Emission intensity evolution per kg of product (in kg of CO2e)
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