Greenwashing the Common Agricultural Policy

This blog was created as part of the original Valuing Nature Network (2011-2014)

The newly reformed European Common Agricultural Policy includes compulsory greening measures, linked to the direct farm subsidies rather than being voluntary. 

This should have been a good change, further protecting farmed ecosystems across Europe and the important services they provide. Our analysis, published today in Science, explains why it is not. 

The compulsory measures are very unlikely to help biodiversity, and are not going to be as widely implemented as the voluntary measures have been in some EU countries, including England. It’s up to individual European Member States to use the CAP to secure the natural assets of their farmed ecosystems, by maintaining budgets to the voluntary environmental options, providing good quality ecological advice to farmers and using the compulsory greening measures to their best advantage.  

Sadly, it does not look like this will happen everywhere. The Irish Minister for Agriculture recently explained in Parliament that the greening measures will have very little impact on farmers (see transcript). The English interpretation of them will be published by Defra next week. Let’s see how it measures up to our recommendations.

Here is our paper:
Pe'er, G., L. V. Dicks, P. Visconti, R. Arlettaz, A. Báldi, T. G. Benton, S. Collins, M. Dieterich, R. D. Gregory, F. Hartig, K. Henle, P. R. Hobson, D. Kleijn, R. K. Neumann, T. Robijns, J. Schmidt, A. Shwartz, W. J. Sutherland, A. Turbé, F. Wulf, and A. V. Scott. 2014. EU agricultural reform fails on biodiversity. Science 344:1090-1092.

Here is a story on the BBC website: