Realising opportunities in rural regions in the transition to net-zero
Rural Agenda for Climate Action: Addressing climate change and transitioning rural regions to net-zero economies
WHAT'S THE ISSUE?
Rural regions have an essential role to play in the transition to net-zero emissions economies and to build resilience against climate change - yet rural development policies do not always reflect this.
Rural regions cover roughly 80% of the territory in OECD counties and contain natural resources, biodiversity and ecosystem services needed to sustain our lives. They produce food and energy, clean air, detoxify waste, clear water, sequester carbon, and provide recreational opportunities. Simultaneously, there is an urgent need to transform emission-intensive activities in rural regions into environmentally friendly and net-zero alternatives. GHG emissions per capita in rural regions are particularly high, also because rural firms and households lack sustainable alternatives. Increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events threaten their resource-dependent livelihoods (mining, forestry, fisheries, energy and tourism). Rural communities can also struggle to adapt and prepare for transformational challenges required to face climate change pressures. Population ageing, limited economic diversity, dependence on external markets and missing (digital) infrastructure all exacerbate their vulnerability.
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