Environmental performance of agriculture, natural resources, climate change adaptation and mitigation

OECD work on climate change has quantified the possible scale of impacts on the sector as well as the sector’s contribution to the greenhouse gas emissions which are causing climate change. It has identified an urgent need for strong policy action to spur both adaptation and mitigation efforts beyond what farmers would otherwise undertake by themselves. It underlines the need for integrated, coherent, and consistent policy frameworks which – first and foremost – remove perverse and conflicting policy signals. Ongoing efforts seek to identify win-win policy solutions that can assist the drive for sustainable productivity growth and climate change adaptation and mitigation, and to address trade-offs.

A considerable body of work has documented agricultural use of water resources and its likely evolution in the medium to longer term. Agriculture is already a major – sometimes dominant – user of water. It will face increased competition for scarce water resources from urban and industrial uses, as well as stresses related to climate change in coming decades. Water quality issues, including pollution, will also need to be resolved. Policy recommendations at farm, catchment and national levels have been developed. Ongoing work seeks to identify important agriculture-producing regions in the world that are either already experiencing or likely to experience water stress at a level which will affect production capacity – “groundwater hotspots” – and to propose policy solutions now that will avert more severe problems later.

Building on policy practices in a number of OECD countries, recommendations to optimise the provision of public goods and minimise public bads have been developed. Governments are advised about how to ensure additionally, cost-effectiveness and efficiency in provision of public goods as well as how to implement innovative policy instruments so as to generate environmental co-benefits and reduce costs. 


Related reports


OECD Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Papers