Agricultural subsidies supported rather income of farmers than crop diversity

Subsidies in total, as well as agro-environmental subsidies didn’t have a significant effect on the agricultural biodiversity. By using unique farm-level data, we show that subsidies supported the income of farmers rather than agricultural biodiversity.

SEEPIA researchers assessed the impact of agricultural subsidies on the agricultural biodiversity, i.e. land-use and crop diversity, on a sample of over 10,000 farmers in the Czech Republic between 2008 and 2020. The study investigated the impact of subsidies taken individually (especially agro-environmental subsidies) but also subsidies in total, except for investment subsidies.

The results showed that subsidies had a negligible positive impact on agricultural biodiversity. Between 2008 and 2020, there was an increase in agricultural biodiversitybut also a significant increase in the volume of subsidies.The main conclusion is that increases in subsidies, either total or taken individually, did not lead to a significant increase in agricultural biodiversity.

The study conclusions are interesting for further discussion regarding agricultural policy and its impact on crop diversity. The farmers’ income support was one of the main objectives of the Common Agricultural Policy for the 2014 – 2020 period. However, the new direction of the Common Agricultural Policy for the 2023 – 2027 period already requires “higher targets” with regard to the environment and redistributes more money to eco-schemes and to agri-environmental and climate measures. In addition, the new Common Agricultural Policy introduces stronger conditionality for these payments, but it is up to each Member State how these conditions will be implemented.

The study is available here.

Žáková Kroupová Z., Čechura L., Opatrný M., Hloušková Z., Mlezivová I. (2022): “Assessment of the Impact of Agricultural Support on Crop Diversity” IES Working Papers 32/2022.IES FSV.Charles University.

A study of climate projections in the Czech Republic

In Central Europe, in connection with climate change, we can expect a decrease in summer precipitation and a slight increase in winter precipitation, an increase in air temperature in summer and autumn higher than in winter and spring. Projections for the end of the 21st century also indicate a higher likelihood of dry summers, higher precipitation totals in the cool half of the year, and extremely hot summer temperatures.

Researchers within the SEEPIA project carried out a study in which they compared the development of climate change in the Czech Republic based on the results of two generations of climate models (CMIP5 and CMIP6) and focused on evaluating the uncertainties of these models. In the study, they monitored the expected development of temperatures and precipitation, specifically the development of monthly average daily temperatures and interannual changes in the average monthly minimum, average and maximum daily air temperature and monthly average precipitation. The results show that when creating climate change scenarios for the Central European region, attention should be paid to the uncertainty represented by differences between models and scenario uncertainty, but also to the influence of internal climate variability.

The results of the study were published in a professional journal. Full article here.

Holtanová E, Belda M and Halenka T (2022) Projected changes in mean annual cycle of temperature and precipitation over the Czech Republic: Comparison of CMIP5 and CMIP6. Front. Earth Sci. 10:1018661. doi: 10.3389/feart.2022.1018661

Analysis of Fit for 55. Impact assessment for the Czech Republic

The aim of the study is to use macroeconomic and techno-economic models to assess the impacts of the EU’s Fit for 55 package on the Czech Republic and thus provide expert input into the discussion on setting domestic policies that will not only meet the package’s objectives but also effectively exploit the growth potential of the transition to a low-carbon economy while avoiding major negative social impacts.

The impact assessment is based on a comparison of the baseline scenario (without the Fit for 55 package) with several alternative scenarios for the implementation of the package. The results of the modelled scenarios show that the target of 55% GHG emission reduction by 2030 is achievable, but additional measures will be needed to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. However, the scenarios in this study were not defined with the objective of achieving climate neutrality by the end of 2050.

The model scenarios develop two decarbonisation trajectories with different rates of renewable energy development and levels of dependence on electricity imports. The estimated impacts on the economy are not necessarily negative (compared to the rising reference scenario).

In case a substantial part of the revenues from GHG pricing is used for climate investments and in particular for the transformation of the buildings and transport sectors, the climate transition can lead to increased economic activity and an overall positive effect on macroeconomic indicators (GDP and employment). However, this effect will be unevenly distributed across economic sectors, and it will therefore be necessary to strategically support and provide training for workers in growth sectors (renewables, construction), alongside reorientation, downsizing and retraining programmes, particularly for fossil fuel-related sectors.

This study will be followed up by further analyses which will extend the study to assess the proposals in the new RePowerEU package.

The study is available so far only in Czech:
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Monitoring of important changes in relation to the future development of the environment in the Czech Republic

As part of the SEEPIA project, two studies regarding monitoring of important changes and future development of the environment in the Czech Republic were created.

The aim of the first study was to identify global megatrends (GMT) and their driving forces, i.e. their influencing factors, and further to describe their expected impact on the environment. The links and influence of global megatrends on the defined pillars of the European Green Deal (climate, agriculture, energy, industry, transport, etc.) are presented here. The study presents an outline of the primary areas on which future scenarios of environmental development in the Czech Republic should focus. The scenarios are one of the main outputs of the SEEPIA project.

GMT are large-scale social, economic, political, environmental or technological changes. They have the potential to significantly influence current processes directly related to the development of the environment in the Czech Republic. Global megatrends include population ageing, migration, urbanization, climate change, biodiversity loss and ecosystem change, increasing demand for water, food and land, technological change and many others.

One of the methods used to identify future development trends is Horizon Scanning (HS). The general principles and procedures of the HS are presented in the second study. Also prerequisites for increasing the effectiveness and usability of HS results are presented and connections and problems that should be solved during foresight activities are described here.

Horizon scanning is a method used for identifying potentially important changes through the systematic examination of trends, signals, opportunities and threats and their impacts on the domain of choice. It can help with defining strategic knowledge for policy making.

An analysis of the contextual framework of the environment in the Czech Republic is available (only in Czech) here.

An analysis of current horizon scanning systems is available (only in Czech) here.

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