Climate impacts of EU agriculture explored

First EU statistical survey finds agriculture, forestry, emit 10% of EU greenhouse gas emissions

EU agriculture, land use change and forestry account for some 10% of the Union's greenhouse gas emissions, according to the first detailed survey of emissions from this sector by the EU's statistical office. Eurostat's report confirms agriculture as the main source of two of the more powerful greenhouse gases, accounting for 41% of methane emissions - most of which is emitted directly by farm animals - and the same proportion of nitrous oxide (N2O). The latter is emitted directly by nitrogen-fixing crops, fertiliser and manure spread on land, as well as indirectly through chemical processing of fertilisers. Germany, France, the UK, Spain and Italy are the biggest emitters of agricultural nitrous oxide, the study concludes. According to a UN review carried out last year of the EU's climate change emissions, policies and measures, the ongoing reform of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy is expected to lead to a significant fall in agricultural greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging farmers to de-intensi fy their activities and to set aside land for non-agricultural production. But it warned that entry of the large agricultural countries of central and eastern Europe into the EU is likely to significantly alter the situation.

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