EU caves in to angry farmers who protested against net zero

EU caves in to angry farmers who protested against net zero

WATCH: Broadcaster Carole Malone defends protesting farmers

GB News
George Bunn

By George Bunn

Published: 06/02/2024

- 14:37

Ursula von der Leyen said that "our farmers deserve to be listened to"

The European Union has backed down on net zero targets following a wave of farmer's protests.

A target to slash agricultural emissions has now been cut as part of the bloc’s net zero drive.

Brussels still plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 90 per cent by 2040.

However, a demand to reduce nitrogen, methane and other emissions linked to farming by almost a third has been removed.

\u200bProtests against the targets took place across Europe

Protests against the net zero targets took place across Europe


European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen proposed withdrawing the EU’s plan to halve the use of pesticides, calling it a "symbol of polarisation."

Speaking to the European Parliament, she said: "Our farmers deserve to be listened to.

“I know that they are worried about the future of agriculture and their future as farmers. But they also know that agriculture needs to move to a more sustainable model of production so that their farms remain profitable in the years to come."

A recommendation urging EU citizens to eat less meat was also removed from the plan.


A line of tractors

Farmers drive their tractors as they protest over price pressures, taxes and green regulation, grievances shared by farmers across Europe


It comes after weeks of protests on roads across the EU, with blockades causing shortages on the shelves in supermarkets.

The FT reports agriculture was seen as "one of the core areas to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2040", according to a draft European Commission plan.

Eleven EU states, including France, Germany and Spain, wrote an open letter to the commission urging a "fair and just transition" that should "leave no one behind, especially the most vulnerable citizens."

Meanwhile, von der Leyen herself is facing backlash from her own European People’s Party, the centre-Right political group to which she belongs.

Ursula \u200bvon der Leyen

Ursula von der Leyen is facing backlash from her own European People’s Party


EU’s Dutch climate commissioner Wopke Hoekstra said the bloc had to ensure "our business stay competitive, there is a just transition."

The EU has pledged to be carbon neutral by 2050, with a first step of cutting emissions by 55 per cent compared with 1990 levels within six years.

It comes as EU scientists said that human-caused climate change caused temperatures last year to be the planet's hottest on record by a substantial margin and likely the world's warmest in the last 100,000 years.

The full plan to reduce emissions ahead of 2040 is to be announced later today.

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