IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007
Climate Change 2007: Working Group III: Mitigation of Climate Change

8.7.3 Other environmental policies

In most world regions, environmental policies have been put in place to improve fertility, to reduce erosion and soil loss, and to improve agricultural efficiency. The majority of these environmental policies also reduce GHG emissions. Various environmental policies not implemented specifically to address GHG emissions but potentially affect agricultural GHG emissions in each major world region are presented in Table 8.11.

In all regions, policies to improve other aspects of the environment have been more effective in reducing GHG emissions from agriculture than policies aimed specifically at reducing agricultural GHG emissions (see Section 8.6.1). The importance of identifying these co-benefits when formulating climate and other environmental policy is addressed in Section 8.8.

Table 8.11: A non-exhaustive summary of environmental policies that were not implemented specifically to address GHG emissions, but that can affect agricultural GHG emissions. Examples of policies are listed for major world region and the potential impact on the emissions of each GHG is indicated.

Region Other environmental policies potentially affecting agricultural GHG emissions Impact on CO2 emissions Impact on N2O emissions Impact on CH4 emissions 
North America • Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) – cost-sharing and incentive payments for conservation practices on working farms (USA)  
 • Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) - environmentally sensitive land converted to native grasses, trees, etc. (USA)  
 • Conservation Security Program (CSP) – assistance promoting conservation on cropland, pasture and range land (and farm woodland) (USA)  
 • Green cover in Canada and provincial initiatives – encourages shift from annual to perennial crop production on poor quality soils (Canada)  
 • Agriculture Policy Framework (APF) programmes to reduce agriculture risks to the environment, including GHG emissions (Canada)  
 • Nutrient Management programmes – introduced to improve water quality, may indirectly reduce N2O emissions (Canada) 
Latin America • Increasing adoption of environmental policies driven by globalization, consolidation of democratic regimes (Latin America & Caribbean) +/- +/- +/- 
 • 14 countries have introduced environmental regulations over the last 20 years – most have implemented measures to protect the environment  
 • Promotion of no-till agriculture in the Mercosur area (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay)  
 • “Program Crop-Livestock Integration” promotes soil carbon, reduced erosion, reduced pathogens, fertility for pastures, no till cropping (Brazil)   
Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia • EU set aside programme - encouraged carbon sequestering practices, but now replaced by the single farm payment under the new CAP (EU)   
 • EU/number of member states - soil action plans to promote soil quality/health/ sustainability, encourages soil carbon sequestration (EU)   
 • Encouragement of composting in some EU member states (e.g., Belgium; Sleutel 2005), but policies are limited (Smith et al., 2005a) (EU)   
 • EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) promotes careful use of N fertilizer. Impact of WFD on agricultural GHG emissions as yet unclear (EU)  
 • The ban of burning of field residues in the 1980s (for air quality purposes) enhance soil carbon, reduce N2O and CH4 (Smith et al., 1997; 2000) (EU) 
 • The dumping ban at sea of sewage sludge in Europe in 1998 - more sludge reached agricultural land (Smith et al., 2000; 2001) (EU)   
 • "Vandmiljøplaner" (water environmental plans) for the agricultural sector with clear effect (decrease) of GHGs (Denmark)   
 • Land Codes of the Russian Federation, Belarus and the Ukraine - land conservation for promoting soil quality restoration and protection   
 • “Land Reform Development in Russian Federation” & “Fertility 2006-2010” - plans to promote soil conservation/fertility/sustainability (Russia)   
 • Ukrainian law “Land protection” - action plans to promote soil conservation/increase commercial yields/fertility/sustainability (Ukraine)   
 • Laws in Belarus such as “State Control of Land Use and Land Protection” encourages carbon sequestration (Belarus)   
 • Laws in the Ukraine to promote conversion of degraded lands to set-aside (Ukraine)  
 • Water quality initiatives, for example, Water Codes encourage reforestation and grassland riparian zones (Russia, Ukraine and Belarus)  
 • The ban of fertilizer application in some areas - reduce N2O emissions (Russia, Belarus, Ukraine) & regional programmes for example, Revival of the Volga  
Africa • The reduction of the area of rangelands burned - objective of both colonial and post-colonial administrations; renewed efforts (South Africa, 1998)  
Asia • Soil sustainability programmes - N fertilizer added to soils only after soil N testing (China)   
 • Regional agricultural development programmes - enhance soil carbon storage (China)   
 • Water quality programmes that control non-point source pollution (China)    
 • Air quality legislation - bans straw burning, thus reducing CO2 (and CH4 and N2O) emissions (China) 
 • “Township Enterprises” & “Ecological Municipality” - reduce waste disposal, chemical fertilizer and pesticides, and bans straw burning (China) 
Oceania • Wide range of policies to maintain function/conservation of agricultural landscapes, river systems and other ecosystems (Australia and New Zealand) 
 • Industry changes leading to rapid increase in N fertilizer use over the past decade (250% and 500% increases in Australia and New Zealand, respectively)  
 • Increases in intensive livestock production; raised concerns about water quality and the health of riverine/offshore ecosystems (Australia and New Zealand)  
 • Policy responses are being developed that include monitoring, regulatory, research and extension components (Australia and New Zealand) 

Note: + denotes a positive effect (benefit); - denotes a negative effect