Hoekstra leaves out EU agriculture in Climate Report

European Climate Commissioner Wopke Hoekstra believes that the EU countries should reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by ninety percent by 2040. The European Commission is thus formulating new goals for the period after the previous criteria for 2030 that have already been established by European politics. 

But Commissioner Hoekstra leaves it to the new European Commission to propose concrete measures. He does name a number of industries that could further limit their emissions in the coming years, but leaves agriculture virtually unmentioned. 

The interim proposals for after 2040 did not come out of the blue. The European climate law states that the European Commission must set up stakes. According to Dutch MEP Mohamed Chahim (PvdA), Hoekstra does not advocate stricter criteria, but his calculation amounts to a continuation of the currently established criteria.

Now that the analysis for the period 2030 – 2040 has been completed, we are waiting for a new bill. This will probably become one of the points of contention for the new European Commission that will take office after the European elections in June.

According to an earlier impact analysis drawn up by experts, agriculture must make a major effort to combat further air pollution. While a thirty percent reduction was mentioned in the previous plans, those figures have now disappeared from the final plan. . 

Earlier this week, the European Commission decided to withdraw the strongly criticized chemical reduction bill, following ongoing protests by European farmers against what they call the influx of environmental restrictions on their agricultural operations.

According to Dutch MEP Bas Eickhout (GroenLinks), agriculture will therefore have more time, which means that other sectors will have to become more sustainable more quickly, according to him. “Agriculture is again being spared by the Commission, but we will not achieve even weak targets with the current efforts.” 

'It's very simple: the path to climate neutrality is incompatible with current agriculture. Instead of sparing the sector, we must provide clarity on how farmers can gain security and earn a good living in a fundamentally different future. This also includes a different use of European subsidies,' says Eickhout.

MEP Anja Haga (Christian Union) believes that we should not rely too much on future possible technical innovations to reduce emissions: “as long as emissions continue to rise, innovations alone are not enough. Instead of mopping with the tap open, it is better to simply close the tap. This means: choosing an economic model that is in balance with what the earth can handle,” says Haga.