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Green New Deal for Europe: Commission Co-Opting the Real Deal

Inspired by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ Green New Deal resolution earlier this year, the Green New Deal for Europe is gaining serious traction. It presents a radical vision to empower communities to lead the way in a truly green transition centred on environmental justice and equality. But has it been coopted by the new European Commission to pass off a seriously watered down “Green Deal” instead? Louise Kelleher, Czech Coordinator for the Green New Deal for Europe, investigates. […]

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IPCC | Climate Chaos and Land Use: Is Livestock a Liability?

Is livestock a liability in the climate game? Not if it’s done right, says the IPCC. In its Special Report on Climate Change and Land Use that came out over the summer, the IPCC weighs up the solutions agriculture can offer to the challenges of climate change adaptation and mitigation, desertification, land degradation and food security. Sustainable livestock is just one of the responses examined in this sweeping analysis of the possible scenarios. […]

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Czech Republic | “No Forests, No Water, No Future” – Part II: Moving On from Monocultures

Drought, insect infestations, biofuels and monocultures are impacting Czech agriculture and the ability of the soil to do its jobs, from water storage to erosion prevention. In part one of this series we exposed this troubled ecology of soil, forests and water. Next, we look at how history, politics and policy have shaped the lie of the land. With Louise Kelleher in Prague. […]

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Czech Republic | “No Forests, No Water, No Future” – Part I: Bugs in the Ecosystem

Record droughts across Europe have been compounded in the Czech Republic by a plague of bark beetle that has jeopardized the nation’s forests. In a country where forestry and farming go hand in hand, every tree lost is a blow to the land, scuppering the soil’s capacity to store water and leaving it more vulnerable to erosion. To make matters worse, the vast fields of rapeseed that have become ubiquitous to Czech agriculture in recent years thanks to generous EU subsidies for biofuels have left the topsoil in a sorry state. […]

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IEEP Manifesto Analysis Part II: PES Promises Fair Play

IEEP looks at how PES policies have evolved since its 2014 manifesto, and examines how they stack up against the recommendations of its own Think 2030 report. It checks for compliance with red indicators – the targets in the 7th Environmental Action Programme (EAP) considered unlikely to be met by 2020, as flagged in the EEA’s European Environment Agency’s 2018 Environmental Indicator Report. So what is PES promising? […]

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Is that all, ALDE? IEEP Manifesto Analysis Part 1

The Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) has combed through the manifestoes of the main groups in the European Parliament to weed out the empty promises and scrutinize the proposals. First up in the series is the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE). So how did ALDE do on agricultural policy? […]

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Pesticides under Pressure | EU Parliament and Progressive Places Putting Biodiversity First

With insect Armageddon and biodiversity collapse making the headlines, pesticides are public enemy No. 1. Scientists are now naming and shaming pesticides as a key driver of biodiversity loss. Even the European Parliament has caught the bug. MEPs insist that the new CAP must do more to shrug off our dependency on agrochemicals. Meanwhile farmers are showing that – with the right supports – instead of scapegoats for biodiversity loss, they can be part of the solution. […]

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MEPs Mean Business on Live Exports

The European Parliament last week called on member states to step up enforcement of existing rules on protecting livestock during transport. MEPs are urging member states to ramp up spot checks, use tracking technology to monitor compliance, and apply tougher penalties for offenders. Transport times should be cut, but the preference is to phase out live exports altogether in favour of local slaughtering. And when animals are transported to non-EU countries, EU standards should be applied. […]

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Czech Mate for Roundup?

The use of glyphosate has been curtailed in the Czech Republic with a new ban on desiccating crops for human consumption that came into effect on January 1, 2019. Grains and rapeseed are the main food crops affected by the new regulations. But the Ministry of Agriculture has been accused of making a U-turn on a blanket ban on glyphosate previously announced in September 2018. How far will the Czech Republic go in calling time’s up on Roundup? […]

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Czech Republic | Chances with Wolves

Wolves are recolonizing the Czech Republic in leaps and bounds. Farmers in affected areas have been hit by attacks on livestock and are resentful of what they see as toothless protections and unpaid compensation from the state. Conservationists welcome the wolf as a much needed predator in the ecosystem. Louise Kelleher tells us more. […]

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Czech Republic | PM Babiš’ Chickens Coming Home to Roost?

The Czech chicken industry is under the wing of a Godfather. The same man is also milking the domestic dairy sector and has the nation’s encased meats all sewn up. Or at least that was the case until he became Prime Minister. Now, with a confidential European Commission report concluding Andrej Babiš has a conflict of interest between his business and his political position, are his chickens coming home to roost?  […]