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18 Jan 2022, 12:36
Kerstine Appunn

Germany’s environment and agriculture ministries form strategic alliance on climate policy

Clean Energy Wire

The German ministries of environment and agriculture, which have so far often pulled in different directions, are now planning to jointly reform the country’s farming policies to ensure the inclusion of both nature conservation and climate protection. The climate crisis and biodiversity loss are two threats that have to be tackled together, environment minister Steffi Lemke (Green Party) said at the annual Agriculture Congress of her ministry. “We are faced with a Herculean task,” Lemke said. The two ministries would be “friends,” agriculture minister Cem Özdemir (Green Party) said, adding that no energy would be wasted on petty fights between the departments as was the case in the past. Özdemir said that his department wants to build on the common ground found by the Commission for the Future of Agriculture to reconcile nature protection, climate action and better framework conditions and incomes for farmers. By the end of the year, he wants to establish a new mandatory animal welfare label for meat products. By 2030, Germany wants to reach a share of 30 percent organic farming.

Environment minister Lemke also announced a ten-year 48-million-euro funding programme for four pilot projects for peat soil protection. The pilot schemes focus on areas in the largest moorland regions, which will be rewetted and alternative cultivation, such as paludiculture, will be tested. Lemke said that another large focus would be on reforming the way funding from the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is distributed. Her ministry would work towards possible adjustments to the national CAP strategic plan as early as this year. Agriculture minister Özdemir said it was “regrettable” that the CAP subsidies were rewarding land ownership rather than services for nature and climate protection. Farmers were rightly expecting planning security for the coming years, but in 2024, the targets would have to be evaluated and conditions adapted if necessary, he said. Germany’s CAP strategic plan would be ready for the European Commission in February, he added. Both ministers stressed that Germany would work towards ending area-based subsidies under the next reform of the CAP on EU level.

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