Climate change and its adverse effects on aspects of terroir such as rainfall, water availability, soil quality, temperature is already having an effect on some production aspects crucial to what brings distinctiveness to geographical indication products. These factors raise questions as to how the formalized rules underpinning the uniqueness of geographical indications are evolving in the face of climatological changes.
Planted in the spring, the geographical indication "Piment d’Espelette" (chilli) of the Basque country is picked by hand as soon as the fruit turns red, from August to the 1 December. The process, from the seed to the final powder, follows very strictly laid down processes. Irrigation is strictly regulated, with irrigation not allowed after 15 July of each calendar year.
However, due to an unprecedented drought situation in France, the French Ministry of Agriculture has issued a ministerial decree AGRT2222448A on August 5, 2022 authorizing to irrigate the plants even after July 15. This case is another example showing the adaptation of intellectual property legislations to climate change and the necessity to bring more flexibility to the cahier des charges/specifications book of geographical indications.
In a recent field study in Corsica we analysed the impact of climate change on olive trees and the geographical indication Oliu Di Corsica, showing similar irrigation challenges and the necessity to bring more flexibility to the specifications book. You can read more about it here.