The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has recently launched two practical instruments designed to encourage soil organic carbon maintenance and sequestration, a key tool for climate action. “Healthy soils are crucial for sustainable agri-food systems” said the FAO Director-General QU Dongyu.
Carbon sequestration involves the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in the form of soil organic carbon (SOC), with the capture of CO2 in the soil seen as an effective way of reducing greenhouse gases. Because soil rich in carbon is also healthier and more fertile, it can benefit farmers while helping meet the targets of the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals.
The two products unveiled today, part of the RECSOIL initiative, are a global map illustrating how much and where CO2 can be sequestered by soils, the GSOCseq, and a technical manual of good practices to sequester and maintain SOC stocks in soils.
“We must look for innovative ways to transform our agri-food systems to more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable. Healthy soils are critical to achieving this,” FAO Director-General QU Dongyu told the opening session of the ninth Global Soil Partnership (GSP) Plenary Assembly. Learn more about the practical tools for recarbonizing global soils here.Read More
Today, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its report, during the press conference, for Policymakers of the Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report, Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis.
The report is based on 14,000 scientific publications assessed from 65 countries. It already stressed every regions facing increasing changes with a faster warming. “Unless there are immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to close to 1.5°C or even 2°C will be beyond reach.” Going beyond the challenge of CO2 reduction, the report – in its chapter 8 – stresses the current impacts of climate change on water and the future challenges:
– “Modifications of Earth’s energy budget by anthropogenic radiative forcing drive substantial and widespread changes in the global water cycle.
– A warmer climate increases moisture transport into weather systems, which, on average, makes wet seasons and events wetter (high confidence).
– Warming over land drives an increase in atmospheric evaporative demand and the severity of droughts (high confidence).
– Human-caused climate change has driven detectable changes in the global water cycle since the mid-20th century (high confidence)
– Greenhouse gas forcing has driven increased contrasts in precipitation amounts between wet and dry seasons and weather regimes over tropical land areas (medium confidence), with a detectable precipitation increase in the northern high latitudes (high confidence).
– Anthropogenic aerosols have driven detectable large-scale water cycle changes since at least the mid-20th century (high confidence)
– Land-use change and water extraction for irrigation have influenced local and regional responses in the water cycle (high confidence)
– Southern Hemisphere storm tracks and associated precipitation have shifted polewards since the 1970s, especially in the austral summer and autumn (high confidence)”
Paired with the WRI projected 56% deficit in water supply relative to demand by 2030, the future water cycle changes, directly linked to the global warming, confirm the necessity to build a Water-Smart Society to protect, maintain and make resilient our water infrastructures to ensure water availability for all with the right quality:
– “Without large-scale reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, global warming is projected to cause substantial changes in the water cycle at both global and regional scales (high confidence).
– Increased evapotranspiration due to growing atmospheric water demand will decrease soil moisture over the Mediterranean, southwestern North America, south Africa, southwestern South America, and southwestern Australia (high confidence).
– Water cycle variability and extremes are projected to increase faster than average changes in most regions of the world and under all emission scenarios (high confidence).
– There are contrasting projections in monsoon precipitation, with increases in more regions than decreases (medium confidence).
– Precipitation associated with extratropical storms and atmospheric rivers will increase in the future in most regions (high confidence).
– The seasonality of precipitation, water availability and streamflow will increase with global warming over the Amazon (medium confidence) and in the subtropics, especially in the Mediterranean and southern Africa (high confidence)”.Read More
Creating a climate-neutral and resource-efficient European economy requires a deep transformation of energy, mobility and food systems, as well as a change in production and consumption practices. Such profound change will impact both individuals and society. At the same time, the transition to sustainability will not succeed if people do not support it by adapting their behaviour and consumption patterns. This would imply change towards ‘sustainable behaviour’.
The recent study published by the Scientific Foresight Unit (STOA) of the European Parliament, explores the prospects of aligning citizens’ behaviour with the objectives of the European Green Deal in the domains of food consumption and mobility. It identifies key challenges and possibilities in each domain and explores how technological solutions can help people adapt to sustainable behaviour in alignment with the objectives of the European Green Deal.
🔹 How do people decide how to use vital resources like energy and water? The answers to these questions are complex, as they are affected by many factors. Availability, access, price and quality of sustainable options are critical; but other, less visible factors, such as peer behaviour and cultural context, are equally important.
🔹 Require great attention when designing interventions and campaigns to help bridge the divide between good intentions and action. For example, helping people plan better to reduce food waste, removing the hassle of switching to a green energy tariff, providing easy substitutes to medicinal wildlife products, or providing timely reminders and tips for reducing water consumption are all strategies which can help turn green aspirations into green actions.
🔹 A quick glance at agricultural production demonstrates that people’s choice of a diet has climate and environmental footprint: water pollution with nutrients and pesticides, freshwater withdrawals => growing water scarcity.
🔹 Organically-managed soils are more resilient to water stress and nutrient loss, and thus can counter soil degradation. Organic agriculture does not pollute water like conventional agriculture.
🔹 Technological options => creating awareness (labelling, databases, virtual farming, footprint calculators …), connecting farmers and consumers, making sustainable consumption easy, enhancing trust, making sustainable consumption fun, social and attractive.Read More
Measuring policy progress on agriculture and water policies is essential to help decision makers identify necessary policy changes and understand how further progress may be achieved to improve agricultural water management.
The OECD has recently published a report Measuring progress in agricultural water management Challenges and practical options to review existing evaluations of agriculture and water policies and suggests three types of progress to be measured: policy design, policy implementation capacity and policy results. The quality and robustness of these measures of policy progress depends upon three main factors.
1. Assessment of policy design requires matching policy alignment with cross cutting objectives or with a reference text.
2. Assessment of progress in implementation capacity requires gauging evolution towards predefined capacity needs or identified governance gaps.
3. Evaluation of policy results requires clearly defined objectives, timelines and scales for assessments.
Seven practical options are identified for applying these principles to agriculture and water policies, illustrated by applying them to assessing progress in the sustainable management of water for irrigation under climate change and in controlling diffuse nutrient pollution. To learn more, read the full paper here.Read More
The final report for the Assessment and Communication of Relevant EU-funded Projects Supporting the Market Uptake of Energy Efficiency Measures in Industry and Services prepared by the European Climate, Infrastructure and Environment Executive Agency (CINEA) has been published.
The report evaluates the impact of 41 projects receiving funding from the Intelligent Energy-Europe II (IEE-II) programme (2007-2013) and the Energy Efficiency calls within the Horizon 2020 programme (2014-2020). To learn more about this project and the results obtained please click here. The final report for the Assessment and Communication of Relevant EU-funded Projects Supporting the Market Uptake of Energy Efficiency Measures in Industry and Services can be seen here.Read More
On 13 July, the first LIFE Call for Proposals opened under the new LIFE programme 2021-2027, which comprises four sub-programmes: nature & biodiversity, circular economy and quality of life, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and the clean energy transition. This first LIFE Call for Proposals 2021 offers a budget of over 580€ million to fund new projects.
The conservation of nature and biodiversity, including water ecosystems, remains a decisive area of action for the LIFE Program. A new type of projects, strategic nature projects, are introduced to support programmes of action in the Member States for the mainstreaming of nature and biodiversity policy objectives into other EU policies and to ensure that relevant funds are leveraged to implement these objectives.
Moreover, the LIFE programme 2021 – 2027 continues its substantial support to projects related to the implementation of air and water quality plans and legislation at a local, regional, national and trans-national level.
For more information, please contact Andrea RubiniRead More
New EU Report ‘Water in the Circular Economy policy development’: how projects can contribute to EU legislation
During the Water Knowledge Europe 2021 Spring edition, held in March 2021, Water Europe, together with EASME and NextGen project organized the workshop on ‘Water in the Circular Economy policy development’ within the context of Water Projects Europe event.
The workshop session took place on 26 March 2021 and it was hosted by Andrea Rubini (WE), Violeta Kuzmickaite (EASME) and Jos Frijns (NextGen). In the 3rd edition Water Projects Europe, water experts and policy makers discussed the governance challenges in the transition towards circular water solutions. The six Horizon 2020-projects projects participated in the workshop were:
Experts the aforementioned projects on Water in the context of the Circular Economy reviewed with EU policy-makers relevant regulations, such as the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive and Sewage Sludge Directive. They exchanged information and best practices to achieve Water Smart-Society.
Based on the outcomes of Water Projects Europe, the European Commission published the ‘Water in the Circular Economy policy development’ Report presenting not only the topics discussed but also several recommendations derived from the Horizon 2020–projects. Discover more in the full report.Read More
The new study published by the Joint Research Centre (JRC), “Farmers and the new green architecture of the EU common agricultural policy: a behavioural experiment” shows how the choices’ farmers to adopt voluntary green practices are affected by how much they are already obliged to contribute to the environment.
For this study 600 farmers from Germany, Spain and Poland took part in a behavioural experiment. The study’s result found that:
– the more mandatory requirements placed on farmers, the less likely they are to make additional voluntary contributions;
– if the mandatory requirements are ambitious enough, the positive impact on the environment more than offsets the drop in voluntary actions.
– for voluntary practices, the higher the level of direct payments farmers receive, the more likely they are to take up such green activities.
Behavioural science is a relatively new approach to understanding agricultural policy in the EU, which has traditionally relied on modelling and other analysis to pre-test the impact of different policy options.
These new behavioural insights help enhance the knowledge base, which in turn helps design policies that maximise the impact of the payments they receive on the positive contribution of farmers to the environment. For example, in the provisional political agreement on the new CAP, EU Member States are asked to prepare strategic plans to implement the policy over the next five years. Behavioural insights are one tool that can help them do that effectively.Read More
The special summer edition of Water Knowledge Europe 2021 event has concluded! We have definitely learnt a lot today. Having identified at least 100 calls with great potential for water, today’s event allowed us to dive deep into the new Horizon Europe Programme and benefit from its opportunities.
A great line-up of speakers from the European Commission not only gave a thorough overview of the new programme and presented the relevant HEU Clusters, Partnerships and Initiatives.
Writing a project proposal might be challenging, so Marta de Diego gave us an informative presentation on the tips and tricks for preparing a successful project proposal.
We also had with us our projects Innovative WAter recoverY Solutions, ULTIMATE Water EU and B-WaterSmart Project that revealed their reasons of success and their suggested paths for turning your project proposal into a winning case.
Don’t forget that you can still book your B2B virtual meeting and meet potential projects’ partners! By registering today, you will still receive the event’s recording, in case you missed it.Read More