EU votes to reauthorise the pesticide, ending a bitterly fought battle that saw 1.3 million people sign a petition calling for a ban
The European Union unveiled its long-term vision on combating climate change in a push for more ambitious action on the environment just days after U.S. President Donald Trump rejected his government’s warning on the economic costs of global warming.
The 28-nation bloc, responsible for 10 percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions, set a 2050 perspective to help give direction to member states, companies and citizens to anticipate costs in fighting temperature increases. The EU’s updated strategy comes a week before representatives from almost 200 countries are due to meet in Poland for an annual conference on addressing climate change.
Brussels has challenged the UK’s environment secretary, Michael Gove, to try to outdo it in an environmental “race to the top” as it proposed a ban on plastic straws, cutlery, plates, cotton buds and balloon sticks.
The European Union faces a consequential decision over glyphosate, one of the world’s most widely used weedkillers. The debate over the chemical pits the farm industry against campaigners who say it poses environmental and health risks. EU nations are poised to vote this week on whether farmers can keep using it for another decade. A ban could cost the French and U.K. agriculture sectors about $1 billion each. The herbicide is used in popular products made by firms such as Monsanto Co., and the EU accounts for about one-sixth of glyphosate use.
Europe must prevent using trees and crops as a way to meet renewable-energy requirements or it will risk further increases in food prices, deforestation and land grabs, environmental groups said.
More than half of the European Union’s 28 nations plan to prohibit the cultivation of a group of genetically modified crops awaiting EU regulatory approval, marking the first use by individual governments of a new right to go their own way on the planting of biotech foods.
Nineteen EU countries have demanded that all or part of their territory be shielded from eight pending applications to grow gene-altered crops in the bloc, according to the European Commission.
The European Union has a bug problem.
After regulators in late 2013 banned pesticides called neonicotinoids, linked in some studies to the unintended deaths of bees, farmers across the continent applied older chemicals to which many pests had developed a resistance, allowing them to survive. Now, infestations may lead to a 15 percent drop in this year’s European harvest of rapeseed, the region’s primary source of vegetable oil used to make food ingredients and biodiesel, according to researcher Oil World.
The European Union’s attempt to cap greenhouse-gas emissions over the next 16 years is threatened again as rising pollution from the bloc’s biggest economies shows even developed nations want to burn cheap coal.
Germany, Europe’s largest economy, boosted consumption of the fuel by 13 percent in the past four years, while use in Britain, No. 3 in the region economically, rose 22 percent, statistics from oil company BP Plc show. While Germany pledged to cut heat-trapping gases 55 percent by 2030 from 1990 levels, it’s managed 25 percent so far and is moving in the wrong direction, according to the European Environment Agency.
The need for cheap energy is still a higher priority than the environment.
It’s a bit more complicated because of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), which pays European farmers to emit Greenhouse Gases. They will have to be paid to grow something else.
Four out of five people in the European Union recognize that fighting climate change and using energy more efficiently can boost the economy and employment, according to a special Eurobarometer opinion poll on climate change published today.
People are really starting to take climate change seriously. They are talking the talk but will they walk the walk?