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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

EU and Sustainability: Agriculture



Climate change is slowly changing the agricultural sector in Europe. Sustainability has been at the center of various recent policies such as the farm to fork strategy (EC, 2020a), the EU biodiversity strategy for 2030 (EC, 2020b), the common agricultural policy (CAP) 2023-2027 (EC, 2021) and European climate law (EU, 2021). 

Climate Change has negatively impacted agriculture and food security 

  • 50% of land in the EU cultivated with crops dependent on pollinators faces a pollination deficit,
  • Droughts are costing an average of 9 billion euro a year in economic damage to agriculture, energy and public water supply,
  • Antimicrobial resistance linked to excessive and inappropriate use in animal and human healthcare leads to an estimated 33,000 human deaths a year,
  • Global mean crop yields of rice, maize and wheat are projected to decrease -3% to -10% per degree of warming.


The following graph shows what type of issues can arise to different agricultural lands due to climate change 

  • farmland values are projected to decrease in parts of southern Europe by more than 80 % by 2100, which could result in land abandonment.

The following graph shows the devaluation of farm land across Europe 


Climate change threatens future of farming in Europe - A report from the European Environment Agency (EEA) that highlights the serious threat that climate change poses to the future of farming in Europe. The report warns that rising temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, and more frequent extreme weather events are already affecting crop yields and livestock production across the continent

Climate change adaptation in the agriculture sector in Europe - A report published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) on the challenges and opportunities of adapting European agriculture to the impacts of climate change. The report highlights the various ways in which climate change is already affecting agriculture in Europe, including changes in temperature and precipitation patterns, increased frequency of extreme weather events, and the spread of pests and diseases.

EU organizations join forces with farmers to fight climate change - This article provides an overview of the impacts of climate change on agriculture in the European Union, and the policies and measures being developed to address these impacts.

Droughts, fires and floods: How climate change will impact Europe - This article notes that while all European countries will be affected by climate change to some degree, those in the south and east are likely to face more severe and immediate impacts, such as droughts, heatwaves, and wildfires. It also highlights the disparities in economic and political power among EU member states, which could make it difficult to agree on ambitious climate targets and policies.

EU farming policy failing to fight climate change, auditors say - An audit report from the European Court of Auditors found that the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which provides financial support to farmers and rural development, is not sufficiently aligned with the EU's climate goals and lacks clear targets and indicators for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting sustainable agriculture practices.


Precision Agriculture (PA): Use of technology to improve the ratio between agricultural output (usually food) and agricultural input (land, energy, water, fertilisers, pesticides, etc.
Smart Farming – intersection between tech and farming to create environmentally friendly and sustainable practices
Conservation Agriculture (CA) - a sustainable practice with the potential to maintain or increase crop productivity and improve environmental quality and ecosystem services.
Agroforestry - a sustainable land use practice that creates more integrated, diverse, productive, profitable, healthy, sustainable land-use systems

Research Terms

- Agricultural Policy, European Union

- Agriculture and State - Europe

- Common Agricultural Policy European Union Reform

- Sustainable Agriculture in Europe