With the aim of defining the political conditions for a socially just and environmentally virtuous transition, the development of an innovative methodological framework made it possible to develop and quantify two contrasting low-carbon transition scenarios for the French food system. In the end, this novel analytical approach led to a report with a hybrid status: both the presentation of an analytical approach that could be replicated in other contexts and at other scales; and the presentation of results on the French Farm, in the dairy and arable sectors.
This innovative approach allows us to address three complementary questions: (i) What are the changes in economic strategies within food value chains that are compatible with the decarbonization ambitions of the Paris Climate Agreement? (ii) What are the impacts of these changes on the other issues identified (employment, income, food, biodiversity) and the trade-offs or synergies involved? (iii) What policy changes (on supply, demand and market organisation) are needed to ensure the economic viability of a virtuous transition for all the issues considered, in a win-win situation?
The study applies this approach to the French food system with two objectives: firstly, to show the fruitfulness of the method developed and thus encourage exchanges/discussions in other countries across Europe and in Brussels; secondly, to feed into the ongoing debates in the French context. It takes as its starting point the projections for agriculture contained in the National Low-Carbon Strategy (SNBC), published in 2020 by the Ministry of Ecology (MTES, 2020), which aims to halve greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the agricultural sector by 2050. These projections are based on a physical/agronomic representation of the French Farm, on a 5-year time scale, in terms of surface area, livestock, yields and associated production.
Given the complexity of the system studied, the analysis was conducted for the 2030 horizon (rather than 2050) for two sectors: dairy cattle and field crops. These were chosen for their importance in the functioning of the French farm.