Climate change has impacts on the conditions for cultivation in all parts of the world. To ensure food production, all farmers must adapt to the changing circumstances.
Some of the changes promote food production, while some of them restrict it. According to the available forecasts based on climate models, most of the changes in the Finnish climate are beneficial for agricultural production. New plant species can be introduced to cultivation as the growing season gets longer. Increased precipitation may, however, increase nutrient emissions that have negative impacts on waters.
Greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural production are generated from land tillage, fertilisation, animal husbandry and clearing of peatlands. The possibilities to reduce emissions by reducing food production are quite limited. Instead, there are significant opportunities to replace fossil fuels with bioenergy and decentralised production practices based on new energy sources. In Finland the climate impacts of agriculture concern, in particular, emissions from the soils. Emissions from peatlands account for a major share of the total emissions from agricultural sources.
In accordance with the UN Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural sources are reported for three sectors: agricultural sector, LULUCF sector (land use, land use change and forestry) and energy sector.
Maintaining and increasing carbon stocks in agricultural soils will be even more important in future policies. In agriculture the same actions can often be used to influence both climate change mitigation and adaptation.
As the climate change progresses, there is a constant need for more effective measures to adapt to the changes and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change adaptation and mitigation bring new opportunities to the food system, but actions are needed to make use of these. A more sustainable food system is also a more productive one.
Besides active food production, Finland’s CAP Strategic Plan aims for environment and climate smart agriculture and diversified rural areas that are capable of renewal.