Farmers’ warning as MEPs target gases

MEPs voted yesterday to reduce emissions such as ammonia — despite Europe’s farming lobby warning them production will be shifted to non EU-countries.

The European Parliament voted in favour of the European Commission’s proposal for a 30% methane reduction by 2030, and a 29% ammonia cut.

Agriculture is responsible for 40% of methane emissions in the EU and 95% of ammonia pollution, according to the European Environmental Bureau (EEB).

However, the Parliament and the Council of Environment Ministers must agree an identical text before reducing emissions can become law.

Environment ministers last June demanded flexibility in meeting EU air quality targets, and dropped a proposal to cap methane emissions.

EU farmers and co-ops, represented by Copa and Cogeca, say the Parliament’s proposals are unrealistic and will hit the EU livestock sector badly. Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen said, “We need to recognise the important synergies between air policy and other policies like climate change. Measures aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutant emissions from agriculture could result in a cut in EU production, threatening food security at a time when world food demand is set to rise 60% by 2050.”.

He warned MEPs the only way to meet targets is by reducing production in Europe.

Environmental campaigners said it was a scandalous, empty threat by farmers to leave the EU, and the agriculture sector was the only one pushing for preferential treatment.


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