CAP – EU’s COMMON AGRICULTURE POLICY
The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is the common policy for all EU countries – first launched in 1962. It stands for 35% of the entire European budget for the next 7 years [European Commission, 2019] and aims to improve agricultural productivity while safeguarding European Union farmers. The CAP was meant to be a partnership between agriculture and society, as well as between Europe and its farmers. Yet, the current proposal is bringing the Green Deal and EUs climate targets in danger.
CLIMATE & AGRICULTURE
PARTNERS IN CRIME
Agriculture and climate change can easily be linked to one another. Climate change is causing extreme weather events (like flooding or droughts) that already have a negative impact on agriculture and which won’t improve if global temperatures continue to rise at the current rate. On the other hand, the agricultural sector itself also contributes to climate change and is responsible for an estimated 12% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions [EEA, 2021].
SO WHAT’S THE DEAL?
— Greenpeace (@Greenpeace) May 26, 2021
The current CAP proposal promotes large scale agriculture by subsidizing farmers depending on the amount of land they own. This guides farmers into growing monoculture crops — a type of agriculture that negatively effects biodiversity and relies on the use of increased pesticides and herbicides (which in turn causes harm to the biodiversity, soil and water quality). It also directly produces greenhouse gas emissions, especially methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), through large-scale livestock production, manure management, and the high use of synthetic pesticides. Even more, the current CAP contributes billions to big agri-business while neglecting independent and small-scale farmers. This hurts our rural communities, our resilience to supply chain shocks, and our ability to support local, organic production.
The agriculture sector, particularly when considered together with land use and land use change (LULUCF), may be one of the most important sectors for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. With 35% of the EU budget [ClientEarth, 2020; European Commission, 2019] for the next 7 years going directly towards the agriculture sector, the CAP plays a major role in ensuring we can meet the EU’s climate targets. However, the current CAP proposal is not at all in line with the Paris agreement that was signed by all EU member states in 2016 and which aims to keep global temperature rise to 1.5°C and well below 2°C compared to preindustrial levels. This means the CAP is therefore also not in line with the EU Green Deal.
The current proposal will lock us into intensive, unsustainable agriculture for 7 years — until 2027 — after which it will be renewed in the 2 years that follow. But by 2029 it may be too late to lower our carbon emissions sufficiently to stay below the crucial target of only 1,5°C of global temperature rise. That’s why Greens are firmly calling for a withdrawal of the current CAP proposal — a proposal that does not protect local, small-scale farmers first, nor protect our biodiversity and our climate, cannot be ratified.