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Improving the contribution of the Common Agricultural Policy to climate change mitigation

Summary of the short study

The EU Commission aims to reduce EU greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. The reform of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will have a direct impact on this goal. Therefore, 40% of the new CAP shall be dedicated to climate protection. However, a study commissioned by Germanwatch and conducted by the Öko-Institut assesses the potential climate impact of the instruments proposed for the next CAP period as absolutely insufficient.

The study analyses the planned mandatory conditions (conditionality) for direct payments and the voluntary Eco-Schemes of the first pillar in terms of their climate impact. It shows the influence of the measures on agricultural emissions. It becomes clear that the current EU Commission’s proposal lacks effective incentives for climate-effective measures.

 A fundamental restructuring of the CAP direct payments for climate-friendly agriculture is urgently needed. However, according to the authors, this will only be possible if the largest emission source of agriculture, livestock farming, is also included in the measures.

The authors urgently warn of the lack of climate effectiveness of the proposed CAP instruments and identify key elements of a climate-effective reform, including, for example, area-based grazing animal husbandry or raising water levels in managed wetlands.

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Senior Advisor - Agricultural Policy and World Trade | Project Leader - Climate-Friendly Agriculture
Senior Advisor - Agricultural Policy