Will Europe open the door to ‘sustainable intensification’ in the wake of COP27 climate change findings?

The aim to promote inclusive forms of sustainable intensification through public-private partnerships may eventually clash with the popular view in many affluent societies, also expressed in the aftermath of last year’s UN Food Systems Summit, that economic and technological change associated with industrial agriculture is the main driver of health-related and environmental problems in agriculture, a major cause of global greenhouse gas emissions as well as a driver of global food insecurity and social inequality (Canfield et al., 2021).

This view was also embraced in an influential report called International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), published during the Global Food Crisis in 2008. Back then, it reassured many policymakers in Europe that the concept of multifunctional agriculture, which underpins the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), would help mitigate the negative impact of industrial agriculture on human health and the environment (Stoian and Caprita, 2019; Gargano et al., 2021).

Yet, the impact of multifunctional agriculture on greenhouse gas mitigation, biodiversity as well as the reduction of agricultural input was marginal (Tscharntke et al., 2021; García-Navas et al., 2022; Rosenheim et al., 2022)

Read more at geneticliteracyproject.org

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