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National agricultural climate policies

World map "The world on the ground"
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"The world on the ground" - How do the states act in the case of agricultural climate protection?

Climate mitigation policy targeting agriculture - A comparative study of the political processes in Germany and Uruguay in light of the Paris-Agreement

In 2015, the parties to the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris agreed on the common goal of limiting global warming to less than two degrees Celsius. This requires a comprehensive "decarbonisation" of all parts of society, and increasingly places agriculture in the focus of discussion.

Background and Objective

This project examines from an interdisciplinary perspective how the agricultural sector can make its contribution to the Paris Agreement and which paths the states have already taken. Agricultural economics and political science theories and methods will be used to shed light on the influence of actors, conflicting goals and incentives on current agricultural climate change mitigation policy.


The first part of the project focuses on the post-Paris reduction targets of 46 countries with regard to the agricultural sector. For this purpose, the "Nationally Determined Contributions" (NDCs) of the main emitters of agricultural emissions are examined in a qualitative document analysis, systematized and prepared for further statistical procedures. This serves to identify particularly advanced countries and to develop more concrete research questions for the second part of the project.

The second part of the research project consists of two country case-studies, in which the political processes that accompanied the implementation of the national agricultural climate change mitigation policy are traced. Methodically, this takes places through an analysis of relevant political documents and in-depth interviews with the actors involved. The country selection took into account the state of development of the climate change strategies for the agricultural sector and the status of the country under the Kyoto Protocol - with Germany and Uruguay representing one Annex I country and one Non-Annex I country.

Data and Methods

Mainly qualitative research methods (document analysis, expert interviews) are used, while in the first part quantitative empirical methods (cluster analyzes) are applied as well. Furthermore, international statistics on agricultural emissions (FAOSTAT) are included. .

Our Research Questions

  • What is the current international state of agricultural climate change mitigation policy?
  • Are there systematic influencing factors that lead to more ambitious climate policy goals in the agricultural sector?
  • What are the consequences for the agricultural sector with regard to its contribution to the Paris Agreement by 2050?


The discussion about the role of agriculture in the context of climate change is controversial. Numerous economic, ecological, social as well as ethical questions and conflicting goals comprise that question. At the same time, the necessary global efforts to protect the climate as a public good trigger a series of incentive problems and dilemmas. Against the background of these contradictions and uncertainties, policy research addresses the question of how political decisions are made in the first place and how national strategies emerge based on the "global governance" of climate change.

The project examines whether and how countries address the problem of agricultural emissions, which areas of agriculture are involved and what characterizes the mitigation measures described. In addition, the backgrounds that led the states to adopt their respective strategies are also of interest.

The final publication is scheduled for 2020. First results will be published in advance.

Involved external Thünen-Partners

  • Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität (WWU)
    (Münster, Deutschland)


7.2016 - 6.2022

More Information

Project status: finished

Publications to the project

  1. 0

    Hönle SE (2023) Wie gelingt eine ambitionierte Agrarklimaschutzpolitik? Eine vergleichende Analyse nationaler Ansätze zur Integration des Sektors Landwirtschaft in die Klimapolitik am Beispiel Uruguays und Deutschlands. Braunschweig: Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut, 262 p, Thünen Rep 103, DOI:10.3220/REP1677484642000

  2. 1

    Hönle SE, Heidecke C, Osterburg B (2019) Climate change mitigation strategies for agriculture: an analysis of nationally determined contributions, biennial reports and biennial update reports. Climate Pol 19(6):688-702, DOI:10.1080/14693062.2018.1559793

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