This press release is also available in German. Click here to download the DE version.
While farmers around Europe are trying to deal with intense and unseasonal weather events that are detrimental to food production, the long-awaited Fit for 55 package, drawn up to implement the European Climate Law, only serves to disappoint. The twelve initiatives outlined in the package will be the starting point for the next two years of political negotiations and instead of the ambitious approach we desperately need, Fit for 55 package contains only minor fixes and compensatory measures.
One of the key points that has been completely overlooked in this climate action package is a real overhaul of trade agreements. Our food system, both globally and notably here in Europe, is now based on globalised markets, or rather the transit of agricultural and food production from one side of the planet to the other without the slightest economic, social and environmental justification and without taking into account the serious and well-understood impacts on climate change. This package, aside from a weak Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism which is limited to addressing fertilisers, does nothing to counteract this trend. Free trade agreements must be revised, allowing for real climate justice and taking into account the living conditions of farmers in third countries, who are now dependent on these agreements. We denounce the fact that the European Union did not take the opportunity of this much needed legislation to really support the relocation of food systems.
Furthermore, this package fails to focus on concrete measures to reduce emissions from the agriculture sector, which needs to be done at a quicker rate, much like for the construction, transport and industry sectors. This is why farmers need concrete and fair support, to facilitate the transition to production processes based on the principles of agroecology and to ensure Europe has more farmers. We must support and guide farmers to progressively stop the use of pesticides and fertilisers, which not only affect everyone’s health, but also produce significant greenhouse gas emissions. We call for less dependence on subsidies and instead more and better paid farmers; less of a race to productivity and more agroecology and food that is better for our health and our planet. ECVC calls for a simple ban on intensive industrial farms.
We are also very suspicious of the inclusion of forests, agricultural land and wetlands within the Land use and forestry regulation (LULUCF) by 2030. This will lead to emission offsetting mechanisms in an increasing number of sectors through carbon certification, whereas what we really need are gross emissions targets, that implement a real reduction of emissions. This race to offset emissions has proven futile because it simply allows for even more pollution. It also has very negative consequences (seen notably within the REDD+ mechanism), such as land grabbing and the dangerous diversion of land from its vocational use to grow food. We are also concerned about the Carbon Farming Initiative, announced for the end of this year, most notably because it follows the exact same logic of emission compensation.
Last but not least, ECVC stresses that the complexity of these regulations and directives, and their lack of accessibility prevents any real citizen dialogue, including the participation of farmers who are some of the first to feel the effects of climate change. We regret that these regulations are so poorly harmonised with the CAP and the European food system. Climate action requires a systemic approach in the food sector: from production to consumption. If this approach is not taken here in the Fit for 55 package, we must hope that other legislative initiatives within the Green Deal live up to our expectations, including the Sustainable Food System Law.
Farmers are on the front line: they are some of the first to feel the consequences of climate change, but are also the main actors of the solution!
Morgan Ody, Coordinating Committee of ECVC – +33 626 97 76 43 – France – FR,EN
Andoni Garcia Arriola, Coordinating Committee of ECVC – +34 636 45 15 69 – ES, EUS