Hoekstra: Agriculture in EU does not achieve climate goals

ENVI ITRE AFET DEVE - Hearing of Wopke HOEKSTRA, Commissioner-designate for Climate Action

The EU countries are doing too little to combat nitrogen and greenhouse gas emissions, especially in the agriculture and transport sectors. As a result, our own climate plans and the international Paris agreements are not being achieved. Climate Commissioner Wopke Hoekstra said this yesterday in the monthly meeting of European environmental ministers.

To achieve net zero emissions of all greenhouse gases in 25 years, the EU wants to reduce its CO2 emissions by 55 percent by 2030 compared to 1990. The Agriculture and Transport sectors are missing their target by more than six percent, it appears. new calculations from the European Environment Agency. 

A country report published on Monday shows that almost all EU countries will not achieve their national targets, and that the EU will amount to a maximum reduction of 51 percent in 2030.

These energy and climate reports have a comparable function to the national strategy plans (NSPs) in the common agricultural policy. This allows Brussels to analyze whether the EU is on the right track to achieving the climate goals.

The European Commission is concerned, among other things, about emissions in the Netherlands of methane and other greenhouse gases in animal manure and fertilizer. The Netherlands must also indicate more precisely what it will do about nitrogen emissions. Brussels has similar recommendations for all countries.

The reason why the EU does not achieve its own Climate Goals is not only due to the failure to sufficiently reduce emissions, but also to the failure to realize renewable energy in a timely manner. The slower transition away from environmentally polluting fossil fuels (especially coal and oil) also plays a role.

And carbon sequestration targets, such as in forests and peatlands, of 310 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent are expected to be missed by 40 to 50 million tonnes, the Commission found. “It is clear that we need stronger commitments from the EU countries,” said Climate Commissioner Wopke Hoekstra.