Greenpeace Accuses European Lobbies Of Undermining Pesticide Reduction Efforts


Greenpeace Accuses European Lobbies of Undermining Pesticide Reduction Efforts

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 12th October, 2020) European farming lobbies and influential agrochemical companies have been trying to convince the EU authorities that their targets for the reduction of the use of pesticides in agriculture were not realistic, an investigation by Unearthed, the journalistic arms of Greenpeace, found on Monday.

In May, the European Commission said it would seek cutting by 50 percent the use of pesticides, fertilizers and antibiotics in the EU agriculture by 2030 as part of its ambitious plan to achieve a greener economy, known as the Green Deal.

"In addition to opposition from trade groups, Unearthed also found instances of individual pesticide companies pushing back against this planned target. These included the German agrochemical giant Bayer, which argued, in its response to an EU public consultation, that Europe should set targets to reduce the risk of pesticides, not to reduce their use," Unearthed said in a press release.

More specifically, Bayer vowed a commitment to cut the overall environmental impact of its products by 30 percent, but not cut their use per se, according to the press release.

Meanwhile, the European Crop Protection Association (ECPA), representing some of the world's biggest pesticide producers, told the European Commission that their 50-percent pesticide reduction target was not "realistic" and should instead be downed to 25 percent, Unearthed said, citing notes from a March 30 meeting between ECPA and Catherine Geslain-Laneelle, the deputy EU agriculture commissioner at the time.

Additionally, the influential European farming lobby group Copa Cogeca held a meeting with European Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans to convince him that the intended targets would likely be "too high" and "drive farmers out of business."

The Green Deal initiative was introduced by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on the onset of her term late last year. It is draft legislation on radical reforms in the economy, energy and transport that would halve carbon emissions by 2030 and nullify them by 2050.

This includes the intention to "significantly reduce" the use of fertilizers, pesticides and antibiotics in food production and make imports from third countries comply with the same environmental standards. For as long as the target is not enshrined in law, Unearthed expects lobbies and companies to continue attempts to influence the uncomfortable limits.