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Do Pillar I CAP green payments encourage the adoption of practices which reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture?

Updated on 06/13/2018
Published on 02/16/2018

Greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector represent 9.8% of total emissions in the European Union, and 17.8% of emissions in France.

A 2013 INRA study identified 26 technical solutions capable of reducing these emissions. The study also calculated a potential reduction by the year 2030 and assessed the cost per equivalent tonne of CO2.

At the request of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Parliament, an additional study was conducted to assess the degree to which “green payments” implemented as part of the 2014 CAP was likely to encourage the adoption of these technical solutions. Results show that “green payments” only encourage the adoption of a small number (3 out of 26) of identified solutions.

The “greening equivalency” principle, depending on how it is used, can potentially encourage four additional solutions. In the best-case scenario, the obtained decrease only represents 23% of the accumulated decrease of all 26 identified measures, thus confirming the limited influence of the current CAP on slowing climate change. One reason is that “green payments” only apply to certain commonplace practices which cause agricultural emissions, such as nitrogen fertilisers (a source of N2O emissions) and the management of liquid waste from livestock farming (a source of some CH4 emissions).

By Sylvain Pellerin (INRA Bordeaux-Nouvelle-Aquitaine and the EA Division)