Current EU plans for farming subsidies would not benefit climate – NGO

If the European Union doesn’t include stricter rules for climate-friendly farming in its main subsidy scheme (CAP), the farming sector will not achieve any emission reductions in the next ten years, a new report finds.

Measures under the European Union’s subsidy scheme for farmers (Common Agriculture Policy – CAP) are not contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gases, and could even see them increase again, a report by the Institute for Applied Ecology (Öko-Institut) commissioned by NGO Germanwatch has found.

The next CAP funding period will run from 2021 to 2027 and, as part of its Green Deal policy, the EU Commission has pledged that 40 percent of direct payments to farmers under the CAP would be used towards climate action. However, these 35 billion euros would be paid to farmers without any emissions being alleviated in return, Germanwatch warns. Under the so-called enhanced Conditionality part of the CAP, the paid income support (and another area- and animal-based payments) should be linked to environment- and climate-friendly farming practices and standards. But according to calculations by the Öko-Institut, adhering to these best practices (Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions – GAECs), including permanent pastures, preservation of carbon-rich soils such as peatlands and wetlands, and soil protection and crop rotation, will at best maintain the status quo of emissions from the sector. In this case, while possibly pursuing a more ambitious climate target of a 55 percent greenhouse gas reduction by 2030, the EU’s emissions from agriculture would not fall and make up 20 percent of total emissions in ten years’ time.

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