MEDIA BRIEFING: How can the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) support the fight against climate change?
3 min read

MEDIA BRIEFING: How can the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) support the fight against climate change?

A new briefing published today by NGOs across Europe underlines the importance of a climate- friendly Common Agriculture Policy to ensure that the agriculture sector contributes to the objectives of the European Green Deal and the EU’s commitments under the Paris Agreement. This document, coming out during the trialogue negotiations between the European Commission, the Parliament and the Council, assesses the weaknesses of the current CAP and explains what needs to happen for the new CAP reform to contribute to the EU’s climate ambition.

The document finds that climate measures in the current CAP have failed to contribute to the EU’s climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts and needs. Main reasons are lack of incentives for climate friendly farming methods and failure to impose any rules that go beyond the current environmental legislation.

It reminds the EU institutions that the currently negotiated new CAP reform risks repeating history and undermines all efforts to tackle the climate crisis, if it is not fundamentally revised. The briefing proposes to include ambitious, quantifiable and science based environmental standards and targets, and an effective ring fencing of at least 40% of the budget for climate action to bring it in line with the European Green Deal objectives.

After holding on to the inadequate proposal of their predecessors for too long, the Commission, especially Vice-President Timmermans is now involved in a last minute attempt to align the CAP with the European Green Deal. The positions of both the Agriculture Council and the European Parliament, although including minor improvements on the original proposal on few issues, are certainly not fit for purpose.

Hence, the trialogue on the new CAP needs to have a different character, as merely compromising between existing positions will not deliver the required results. The objective needs to be to remove the inconsistencies between the new CAP and the European Green Deal. The extension of the current CAP for another 2 years allows the EU institutions sufficient time to achieve this.

Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, Wendel Trio said: “EU leaders must acknowledge that if the next CAP, fails to include adequate measures to tackle the climate and biodiversity crisis, then this would bring the ambition of the European Green Deal to an end. Achieving a climate friendly CAP must be the priority of all Europeans now.”

Germanwatch’s World Food, Land Use and Trade Team Leader, Tobias Reichert said : “It is essential that the EU takes its commitment to use 40% of the CAP budget for climate action seriously. Eco -schemes have to incentivise more sustainable livestock husbandry with lower animal density and numbers to address the major source of greenhouse gas emissions from EU agriculture.”

Cyrielle Denhartigh, Responsible Agriculture and Alimentation officer of the Réseau Action Climat France said: “In the face of the climate emergency, we cannot simply go for any agricultural model. Public money from CAP has to be reassigned to real sustainable models: organic farming, agroforestry, pulses, sustainable livestock farming, etc.”

David Howell from SEO/BirdLife (Spain) said: “The credibility of EU climate leadership is only as strong as that of its supporting policies, and the CAP is in catch-up mode. More effective measures are necessary if the EU’s traditionally most costly policy is to play its part in achieving stronger EU climate action targets by 2030. Something unprecedented is needed in trialogue to improve the CAP’s currently flimsy climate credentials; otherwise, the Commission must bring forward new proposals.

Dan Belusa of the Danish 92 Coalition said: “Regardless what happens with the existing CAP-proposal, it must both contain ambitious quantifiable reduction targets at EU level AND strict conditionality standards to support action at farm level. Only with both elements, targets and sanctions, will the CAP be able contribute its share in bringing EU in-line with its Paris goals”


Goksen Sahin, Project Manager,, +32 468 45 39 20

The briefing can be downloaded here.

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