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Independent.ie

Saturday 27 May 2017

Climate to be king at upcoming CAP talks

Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans
Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans

Sarah Collins

As Donald Trump set about rolling back US climate protections, the EU moved forward with its own green agenda.

Aside from new 2030 emission reduction targets, the bloc also wants to set 2030 waste reduction goals and boost the use of organic fertilisers.

EU officials made a dig at the new US president over the issue last week.

"If we do it at the European level, a stricter regulation, we will be followed by other parts of the world," said Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans, "even if in some parts of the world today they believe in alternative facts."

The waste objectives - to recycle 65pc of municipal waste, 75pc of packaging waste and reduce landfill use to 10pc by 2030 - were toughened up by MEPs last week.

They want to see the recycling targets raised and the landfill limit lowered by five percentage points.

Ireland recycles and composts around 37pc of household waste, below the EU average of 44pc. The rest is mainly landfilled, while around 15pc is incinerated.

The MEPs, deputies in the Parliament's environment committee, are prepared to do battle with EU governments on the issue, which could be a harbinger of things to come.

Fine Gael MEP Seán Kelly says farmers had better get used to climate being king in upcoming talks on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

"The environmental pillar is going to be hugely important, especially if you want to get it through Parliament," he told the Farming Independent.

"The CAP will stand or fall, this time, on the environment pillar, whether you like it or not."

The EU is currently mulling what the new CAP will look like, given Brexit and the need to agree on a new EU budget by 2020.

The European Commission will launch a public consultation on the CAP this Thursday and will come out with its own white paper later this year.

Farmers should also watch upcoming talks on the EU's draft fertiliser rules, which limit cadmium content to 20mg/kg in phosphate fertilisers, and set EU-wide manufacturing standards to minimise waste.

And later this year the EU will come forward with new minimum standards on re-used water for irrigation.


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