European Green Agreement: A bad deal for the planet?

The ambitious goals set by the EU in 2019 to tackle climate change and protect the environment are essentially a side effect of transmitting environmental problems to developing countries such as Indonesia and Brazil, say German researchers. Nature, the three experts from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology point out that the framework of the so-called Green Agreement in the EU does not set the same standards for the import of agricultural and livestock products that apply to livestock production in the EU. Lack of standards and certification effectively transports environmental problems from Europe to the developing world, experts say. Ambitious goals The Green Agreement, announced last December, aims to make the EU climate neutral by 2050 by 2050. greenhouse gases should have been zeroed. The agreement sets targets for reforestation, improving agricultural production, green transport and renewable energy, among others. The agreement also envisions a 20% reduction in fertilizer use and a 50% reduction in pesticide use. The EU also plans to plant 3 billion trees and rehabilitate 25,000 kilometers of rivers. Today, the authors point out, the EU is the second largest importer of livestock products after China. In 2019, the Union imported one third of agricultural products (118 megatons) and three-fifths of meat and dairy products (45 megatons consumed within its borders. Two meters, two weights) Although the EU has advanced in the last year and a half trade agreements covering half of these imports, the agreements do not include any provision on the specifications and environmental footprint of imported products. “The end result? “Although the EU recognizes that new trade legislation will be required in the short term, nothing will change with the Green Agreement.” For example, between 1990 and 2014, forests increased by 9%, an increase corresponding to the total area of ​​Greece (130,000 square kilometers). 110,000 square kilometers have been deforested in other countries for crops exported to the EU. Vast areas in Indonesia are being deforested for the production of products exported to the EU (EU FLEGT and REDD Facilities) quarters correspond to seed oil production in Brazil and Indonesia, high biodiversity countries facing a serious deforestation problem. The truth is that all EU imports are covered by the Revised Renewable Energy Directive 2018. In practice, however, these provisions are rarely applied and customs authorities are unable to control imported crops. Certification of imports remains problematic: in 2017, only 22% of soybean imports complied with the sustainability specifications that voluntarily set by the Federation of European Feed Producers (FEFAC). The EU imports half a billion euros worth of beef each year from Brazil, with most coming from recently deforested areas. Even the Revised Renewable Energy Directive excludes areas deforested before 2008 from its forecasts, which allows import of products from vast areas of the Amazon that were deforested before 2008.SolutionsAlso, the article points out, some agricultural practices for which the EU has been braked are allowed, and even explicitly, in imported products. Thus, the use of pesticides in exporting countries is often much higher than European levels. Also, while the EU has severely restricted genetically modified crops, it has no problem importing “mutated” varieties of soybeans and corn from the United States, for use mainly in animal feed. The authors of the article, however, suggest a number of solutions to stop export of sustainability problems: harmonization of standards for domestic production and imports; impact assessment not only at European but also at global level; reduction of targets for biofuels (often produced from the deforested agricultural production; calculation of the European global carbon footprint; reduction of meat consumption; increase of domestic production; and utilization of technologies such as genetic modification of crops and indoor cultivation. Follow it on Google News and be the first to know all the news. See all the latest news from Greece and the world, in

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