The agricultural sector’s vulnerability to climate change requires effective and urgent adaptation strategies that could increase the resilience of agricultural production systems. The sixth report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) entitled Climate Change 2021: The Basis of Physical Science, published in August last year, confirmed the unequivocal and irreversible trends in current and future climate risks that the planet faces. Given this, the impacts of the climate crisis require the resilience of agricultural production systems.
Among the various solutions to mitigate climate change, an important option is carbon sequestration in agroecosystems, especially in agricultural soils. For carbon sequestration to occur in the soil, management systems must seek to maintain high amounts of biomass and cause minimal disturbance to the structure, in addition to promoting soil and water conservation.
In summary, proper soil management increases carbon sequestration in irrigated areas.
BRAZIL – GAS EMISSION PERFORMANCE
In Brazil, in agriculture, there was growth in both the cattle herd and the consumption of fertilizers, which increased gross emissions in 2021. However, carbon sequestration by well-managed soils in Brazil increased. Today, agricultural soils sequester twice as much carbon as they emit, but even today, they are not computed in official emissions inventories.
The performance of these emissions can be seen in the graph below, compared to the deforestation curve. Although there has been a general reduction compared to the 90s and 2000s, there is a growth bias in the four years 2018-2020.
BRAZIL – ABC and ABC+ PLAN
In Brazil, we saw the execution of the first phase of the Sectorial Plan for Mitigation and Adaptation to Climate Change for the Consolidation of an Economy of Low Carbon Emissions in Agriculture (ABC Plan), celebrated between 2010 and 2020, where many advances were achieved with the promotion of ABC (low carbon emission) technologies, which, by promoting the mitigation of greenhouse gases, increase the resilience of production systems.
As a result 2021, a new phase was launched, called the Sectorial Plan for Adaptation to Climate Change and Low Carbon Emissions in Agriculture and Livestock, with a view to Sustainable Development (ABC+).
The ABC+ Plan guides the agenda proposed by the Brazilian government to continue its sectoral policy for climate change in the agricultural sector between 2020 and 2030.
ABC Plan – Good results, but there are still uncertainties
Despite the good results obtained by the ABC Plan regarding the sustainability and resilience of agricultural production systems, there is still no clarity about what is missing to guarantee resilient production systems to climate change and the success of accepted adaptive strategies in relation to climate change in different cultures.
In order to support the development of strategies to increase resilience and understand the importance, complexity, and engineering of climate phenomena in agricultural activities, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Supply (Mapa) initiated a sequence of studies and actions to understand the theme better.
One of the results of these efforts was the development of the Conceptual Framework for Assessing Strategies for Adapting Agricultural Systems to Climate Change.
The Conceptual Framework (CF) is a tool to support the elaboration of adaptation strategies for the different agricultural production chains and to monitor the progress of adaptation measures. The CF comprises two elements, vulnerability and resilience, which are connected. Between these two elements are six axes of action, namely:
- Axis 1 – Genetic improvement
- Axis 2 – Products, Processes, and Technological Practices
- Axis 3 – Diversified Conservation Systems and Integrated Management
- Axis 4 – Climate Forecast and Territorial Zoning
- Axis 5 – Financing, Technical Assistance, and Public Policies
- Axis 6 – Socioeconomic and Environmental Performance
It is necessary to evaluate from time to time the virtues and weaknesses of each of the axes in the six production chains, and the results obtained will serve as a basis for the elaboration of the Adaptation Strategy for each of the worked chains, providing an overview of the degree of adaptation and the adaptive capacity of Brazilian agriculture, thus seeking continuous improvement aimed not only at efficiency but at contributing to the environment.
This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Brazil Country Manager Carlos Alexandre de Oliveira.