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Climate Change, Agriculture and Development in Croatia

Legro, Susan; Znaor, Darko and Landau, Seth (2008) Climate Change, Agriculture and Development in Croatia. Development and Transition, 10 (7), pp. 14-16.

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Both the challenges and potential benefits of climate change mitigation and adaptation are particularly apparent in Croatia's agricultural sector. In 2004, this sector emitted 3.558 Gg of CO2 equivalent, comprising 12 percent of the country’s anthropogenic GHG emissions in that year. Soil management accounted for 62 percent of these emissions, enteric fermentation (associated with animal digestive systems) accounted for 25 percent, and manure management for 13 percent. However, recent research suggests that the GHG emissions generated by Croatian agriculture and related activities (e.g., energy, farm-inputs, trade, transport, agricultural research, veterinary services) are responsible for 18 percent of all anthropogenic GHG emissions in Croatia. The fertilizer industry is particularly important in this respect: the Petrokemija fertilizer manufacturer alone accounts for 30 percent of Croatia’s national gas consumption and 5 percent of Croatia’s anthropogenic GHG emissions.
The external costs (damage to human health, ecosystems, commercial materials) of the GHG emissions attributable to these sectors have been estimated at 96 million EUR annually, or some 10 percent of the gross value added generated by these sectors. In the hypothetical case of a total conversion to organic farming, there would be no need for fertilizers and the GHG emissions generated by fertilizer manufacturing would be cut to zero. Such a scenario would obviate the need for the extensive investments required to expand the capacity of Croatia’s gas pipeline network, which is currently too small to properly service all users. Moreover, organic farming can also sequester carbon stocks in the soil.
Croatian policy makers have long recognized the environmental potential of organic farming. In 2001 the government adopted legislation supporting organic farming, and in 2003 it introduced direct payments to stimulate its further growth. In 2004 the Ministry of Agriculture adopted a Strategy for Development of Organic Farming in Croatia, calling for the conversion of 10 percent of Croatia’s agricultural area to organic farming by 2010. During 2000-2006, the acreage under organic farming increased from 13 to 6,145 hectares. If this pace of conversion were to be maintained, all Croatian agricultural land would convert to organic farming by 2011. While complete conversion to organic farming is not realistic, movement in this direction could generate significant economic and environmental benefits.
The research base concerning the costs and benefits of climate change adaptation in Croatia is not as advanced as the work done on mitigation. However, Croatian agriculture has been affected by severe drought three times in the current decade. In 2000 and 2003, damages were estimated at $700 million total for both years combined (3.4 billion kuna). Drought conditions in the summer of 2007 led the government to provide farmers with a further $80 million (410 million kuna) in assistance from the state budget. Expanded irrigation efforts are underway, but their effectiveness could be undermined by uncertainties concerning future changes in precipitation patterns and levels. Should increased irrigation divert Croatia’s water resources from hydroelectric power generation or industrial or household uses, the costs of adaptation could rise further.
The challenge for Croatia, as for other countries, is to meet its international obligations for GHG emissions reductions and energy use without endangering economic growth. Croatia must also adapt to potential climate change as well as current climate variability, in order to protect vulnerable sectors such as agriculture. Meeting these challenges will require effective, synergistic policies in such sectors as transport, energy, forestry, agriculture, and coastal zone management.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Climate change and organic agriculture; Croatia; external costs of agriculture; internalisation of agricultural externalities; GHG emissions generated by fertilizer manufacturing; environmental potential of organic farming
Subjects:"Organics" in general
Farming Systems
Environmental aspects > Air and water emissions
Food systems > Policy environments and social economy
Environmental aspects
Research affiliation:Belgium
UK > Univ. Essex
Czech Republic
Deposited By: Znaor, Dr Darko
ID Code:26448
Deposited On:19 Jun 2014 06:25
Last Modified:19 Jun 2014 06:25
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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