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EU’s CAP is a step backward on global climate action

Katarina Dulude

Anchor Staff Writer

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The UN warned a little over two years ago that we had 12 years until the global temperature rose above than 1.5℃, and that the damage to come of it would be catastrophic and irreparable. With the U.S.’s complete and utter abdication of its role in fighting the climate crisis since Trump took office, and China’s supposed environmental leadership focusing more on social control than actually taking true action on the climate crisis, the EU Common Agricultural Policy that was passed last week is extremely disheartening.

The policy meant to overhaul farming regulation and subsidies that emerged after two days of discussion has been touted by politicians as “greener, fairer, and simpler.” Instead, the compromises made on the bill itself to achieve this are weak and insignificant. Harriet Bradley, a Belgian agriculture & bioenergy policy officer at BirdLife Europe broke down in an extensive Twitter thread, all ways in which the CAP massively failed on protecting the planet and biodiversity. Among countless other issues, The CAP removed a mandate that farmers use tools that would more sustainably utilize nutrients in soil and reduced the amount of land designated for biodiversity to a measly five percent. The final bill also resulted in the deletion of a ban on plowing or converting Natura 2000 (nature sites designated as protected) into farmland and effectively lowered the budget on environmental spending.

If this plan, which again, was referred to as more environmentally friendly by MEPs, became any greener at all, it was due to mounting pressure by NGOs and youth climate activists. And even that was not enough. The policy was largely ignored by the media and only seemed to start receiving some coverage at all when activist Greta Thunberg openly criticized it and encouraged others to do the same on social media using the hashtag #VoteThisCAPDown.

As more people are becoming aware of the true consequences we will be forced to contend with if we don’t act now to prevent the climate crisis, activism is on the rise, especially among youth, with numerous global organizations fighting like Fridays for Future, the Extinction Rebellion and the U.S.’s own Sunrise Movement. Europe has demonstrated that though they’re happy to laud activists like Thunberg with awards, they do not want to listen. They make a good show and then vote for bills that perpetuate the destruction of our planet.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing else to do but keep fighting because we don’t have a choice. We have 10 years. And while most world leaders are content to live in ignorance if it’s profitable, young people around the world are not. We can’t give up, no matter how many times we are failed, because it’s our home, our health, our safety, our futures that are on the line.

While Europe has taken a step backward, the U.S. might be able to take a step forward and get back on track, but only if people turn out and vote. So please, if you haven’t already, vote.


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