EU farming policy failing to fight climate change, auditors say

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The European Union’s huge subsidy programme for agriculture is failing to rein in greenhouse gas emissions from farming, despite 100 billion euros of such subsidies being labelled as climate spending since 2014, auditors said on Monday.

The environmental impact of agriculture is under increased scrutiny, as the EU seeks to eliminate its net emissions by 2050 – including the 10% of emissions that come from farming.

EU negotiators will this week attempt to agree new rules for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the farming subsidy scheme that will spend 387 billion euros, a third of the EU budget for 2021-2027. A key sticking point is whether the money should be tied to protecting the environment.

A report by the European Court of Auditors on Monday said so far, the CAP has failed to support more climate-friendly farming.

“The 100 billion euros of CAP funds attributed during the period 2014-2020 to climate action had little impact on agricultural emissions,” report author Viorel Stefan said.

The auditors said the new CAP should incentivise emissions reductions from livestock and fertilisers, and pay farmers to restore drained land so it can absorb and store CO2.

via Reuters