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Climate change and agriculture: can market governance mechanisms reduce emissions from the food system fairly and effectively?

Agriculture accounts for 30 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. How agriculture is practised, therefore, has significant potential for mitigating climate change, providing food security and improving the livelihoods of food producers worldwide. There is growing interest in the use of market governance mechanisms for tackling climate change by giving the financial incentives to make the required changes. The key messages emerging from this study are that economic measures have a vital part to play, but to be effective, emissions from food production and consumption must be addressed together. A balance needs to be struck by applying a mix of approaches: no single measure will be effective on its own. ‘Soft’ measures, such as voluntary agreements can provide an enabling context for action, but they must be backed up by ‘harder’ regulatory or economic measures. Regulation, in the form of a cap on emissions, is a prerequisite for other market governance measures to function well.