In March 2017, the journal Science published an article that contained a roadmap with deadlines every decade that would allow us to reach the objective of zero carbon emissions by 2050 and keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. The table sets out specific actions for transport and energy, placing agriculture and forestry in third place.
Starting from the observation that emissions from agriculture and changes in land use represent almost a quarter of all emissions caused by humans, it is interesting to note that the way identified in the roadmap of reaching the 2 degree objective is very similar to the proposals put forward by the 4per1000 Initiative.
The roadmap sets out 4 concrete actions for the rural, farming and forestry sectors:
- 2017-2020: End the expansion of farming into tropical peat bogs
- 2020-2030: Change the way we eat
- 2030-2040: Create a carbon-neutral wood products industry
- 2040-2050: Take advantage of the benefits of the restoration of forests and landscapes
We believe it is essential for governments and other authorities to take this on board. Laws and programmes aimed at locking carbon in the ground and launching massive global reforestation projects can no longer be postponed. Few politicians involved in climate change matters have paid sufficient attention to the details of the challenge posed by soil use that awaits us, and until now, the political signals have not been enough to bring about the reforms of agriculture that are needed to take action on climate. In Europe there have been some positive signs, for example some member states have acted to increase their forested areas. It is, however, essential to move from action on a national level to action on a European and global level.
Perhaps the moment has arrived for the 4per1000 Initiative to undertake more eye-catching actions. Its approach requires the soil to be considered more clearly within an integrated and multi-sector framework. It is therefore necessary as a matter of urgency to strengthen its communication with public opinion, starting with Europe. Only with popular support will it be possible to bring about change in the priorities and decision-making of governments and international institutions.