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Home page > Research Topics > Trade Policy > Agriculture > CAP Research Programme

Conference "The 2020 European agriculture: Long term challenges, new public and private policies"
[FR]

Papers from wisemen of each session

Nelson, Gerald, Climate Change and Agriculture
Levi, Michael A., Energy and agriculture: the future of biofuels
Schultz, Bart, Agriculture and water

Watch Part I of the conference

Farmers confronted by society’s claims

In 1957, the Treaty of Rome had no difficulty assigning five goals to the CAP: (i) to increase productivity, (ii) to ensure a fair standard of living for farmers, (iii) to stabilize markets, (iv) to assure the availability of supplies, and (v) to ensure reasonable prices for consumers. The mistake was to use one single instrument (guaranteed production prices) to try to reach all five goals—hence the CAP’s total or partial failure in relation to the last four goals.

Things are much more complex nowadays. In particular, agriculture in Europe and around the world has to face long-term challenges that were unknown back in the 1960s—in particular, climate change, and limited energy and water resources.

Session 1. Agriculture and Climate Change

The challenge of climate change is the most difficult to assess, as it will develop over the coming century. Historians and paleoclimatologists have observed significant climate changes in the past, sometimes with dramatic consequences. However, going beyond this mere observation proves to be quite difficult—and economists are well aware of the strong limits of mere extrapolations.

“Getting ready” seems a sensible policy. But how? Getting involved without a proper analytical basis might prove unduly costly. That said, climate change gives farmers the opportunity to go beyond the usual circle of agricultural policies, and to realize that non-agricultural policies, such as research and development policy, could be of prime interest to them.

President Patrick Messerlin, Groupe d’Economie Mondiale (GEM)
Wiseman Gerald Nelson, IFPRI
Discussants Nathalie Guesdon, Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries
Stéphane De Cara, INRA AgroParisTech

Listen to session 1
Download Gerald Nelson: Climate Change and Agriculture.

Session 2. Agriculture and Energy

The constraints on domestic energy resources involve a shorter time horizon than climate change—a few decades. To address the energy issue, Europe committed itself to producing alternative fuels, in particular biofuels, though in a way that has so far generated more problems that it has solved.

The challenge is twofold. How can we free European farmers stuck in current biofuels production (a question that belongs to the realm of adjustment policies)? How can we give farmers, in an economically sound way, access to future opportunities to produce more efficient biofuels, and saving non-renewable energy resources?

President Ann Tutwiler, Hewlett Foundation
Wiseman Michael Levi, Council on Foreign Relations
Discussants Daniel Ballerini, Institut Français du Pétrole
Ronald Steenblik, OECD

Listen to session 2
Download Michael A. Levi, Energy and agriculture: the future of biofuels


Session 3. Agriculture and Water

The challenge posed by the availability of water resources is more short term in nature than those due to climate change and energy. And the role played by agriculture in water resource management is more central, since farming is one of the most water-intensive of all economic activities. Last but not least, water is unequally spread throughout the world, including in Europe, and the gaps in availability for agriculture are on the rise.

To what extent could trade in agricultural products help loosen the increasingly tight water constraint? What are the desirable shares of rain-based agriculture and irrigated agriculture? How can we combine agricultural policies and water policies (such as the EU water framework directive)?

President Alexandre Le Vernoy, Nestlé Waters & Groupe d’Economie Mondiale (GEM)
Wiseman Bart Schultz, UNESCO-IHE
Discussants Bernard Barraqué, CNRS
Daniel Zimmer, World Water Council
Jacques Pasquier, Confédération Paysanne

Listen to session 3
Download Bart Schultz, Agriculture and water

 

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