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The Brief: Climate Change threatens the future of crops

Vines in a vineyard of Alsace
Vines in a vineyard of Alsace Copyright © European Union - EP
Copyright © European Union - EP
By Joanna GillGregoire Lory
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With the production of major crops expected to be down by 50% in the next 30 years due to climate change, lawmakers and environmental activists are searching for ways to protect the future of agriculture.


The European Environment Agency has released some alarming numbers for the future of agriculture.

Climate change may lead to a severe loss of production or even the abandonment of certain crops. Research suggests that the effects of climate change could force wheat, beet and maize production down by 50% by 2050 in southern Europe.

But what are actions can be taken to prevent the future loss of crops?

"Using less oil for example, new engines in machinery and more effective modern machinery but also it is important that we talk about breeding technology," Thomas Magnusson, president of Cogeca explained.

Lower yields and higher production costs impact the quality of products and producers will have to adapt to the changing industry. Environmental NGOs are calling for a change in the EU's Common Agricultural Policy to help producers diversify crops.

"Policies up until now have been driving farmers to become bigger and bigger, more industrialised. And therefore to have fields which are based on monocrop, one single crop. And when that crop is hit by a drought or another climate shock, the entire system, the entire farmer system is set to fail," Marco Contiero, Agriculture policy adviser for Greenpeace Europe said.

While agriculture accounts for 10% of greenhouse gas emissions in the EU, professionals and NGOs insist the sector can, and must, become carbon neutral.

And other news in brief...

Strasbourg. The European Parliament is backing Christine Lagarde to be the next president of the European Central Bank. Lawmakers voted 394 in favour and 206 against.

The former IMF head is set to become the first woman to hold the post.

Brussels has given a green light to a major overhaul of Germany's electricity market.

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager approved a complex deal between industry giants RWE and EON. It involves asset swaps leading to both groups exiting rivaling businesses.

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