The High Council for the Climate, a French independent government entity of expertise put in place by the President of France in November 2018, released its first report June 26. In particular, it noted the positive results in the agriculture sector in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“Emissions in the agricultural sector are practically stable over the period of 2015-2018 (-0.1% per year),” the report indicates. A result in in tune with the goal of stability for this sector stipulated in the first version of the National Low Carbon Strategy adopted in 2015. Even better, the High Council for the Climate anticipates a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions in the agricultural sector of 1.4% per year between now and 2025.

As a reminder, the French Law on Energy Transition for Green Growth of 2015 fixed the goal of reducing total greenhouse gas emissions in the country by 40% between 1990 and 2030. For the agricultural sector, the report highlights a decrease in emissions of about 8% between 1990 and 2018.

Depending on the case, this decrease is the result of one or a combination of the following factors:

  • Intensification of systems and practices in plant and animal agriculture
  • Decrease in the size of the cattle herd in France (less animals, but more productivity per animal)
  • Decrease in the sale of mineral nitrogen (more efficient use of fertilizers)
  • Greater use of biofuels

The High Council for the Climate complemented their data by specifying that agriculture today represents 19% of greenhouse gas emissions in France, which are primarily linked to biological processes: 48% for animals, 41% for crops, and 11% from tractors, engines, and furnaces.

In 2018, according to the council, climate investments in the agricultural sector – meaning investments that directly or indirectly contribute to reducing GHG emissions, have reached 400 million euros.

The reports also insists on the need to further implement the 4 per 1000 initiative.