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Double Trouble – How are CAP Direct Payments Suddenly Twice as Effective at Combating Climate Change?

The “Green Deal” Commission promises big spending on climate. If climate markers are to be believed, the current CAP accounts for 22% of the EU’s climate spending. The post-2020 CAP is poised to take even more climate credit. But the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) claims the Commission’s climate markers miss the mark. In a report released earlier this month the IEEP sounds the alarm on faulty climate accounting and greenwashing of direct payments. […]

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Trouble With The Neighbours: Living Next Door to an Agri-Giant

How do you get an organic farm off the ground with an agri-giant operating in the neighbouring field? Coming back to the land after a high flying career in New York City, Libor Kožnar expected the first year to be the hardest. What he didn’t expect was to find himself in a legal dispute with Agrofert, the sprawling agribusiness empire founded by the Czech prime minister. […]

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Bad Czechs and Balances: Commission Audit Confirms Czech PM in Conflict of Interest

In a glaring failure for checks and balances, a leaked European Commission audit concludes that Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš continues to profit from his business empire. The billionaire premier is in conflict of interest under both Czech and EU law, say the EC auditors. The EU seems set on making an example of the Czech PM. Will this mean a clampdown on corruption in Central Europe? […]

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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? […]