“Glyphosate is a means to making agriculture climate-neutral” – Bayer board member
German agro-chemical company Bayer sees the European Union’s Green Deal as an opportunity, despite tougher climate targets and the goal to halve the use of pesticides by 2030. Bayer wants to produce in a climate neutral way by 2030 and with its herbicide glyphosate, the company has a product that “brings many advantages for the environment, especially as it supports a sustainable, low-emission agriculture”, Bayer board member Liam Condon said in an interview with Die Welt. Glyphosate is enabling ploughless agriculture in the United States and Brazil, helping the agriculture sector to become climate neutral, Condon said. Bayer aims to propose a different model which the European Commission could follow instead of the 50-percent-less-pesticides-in-2030 approach and has also initiated the process to renew the approval of glyphosate in the EU, which runs out in 2022.
When Bayer acquired glyphosate producer Monsanto in 2018 it inherited lawsuits because of carcinogenic qualities of the glyphosate herbicide RoundUp, leading to settlement payments of over 10 billion US dollars and the company’s highest loss in the second quarter of 2020.
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture is often complicated by the fact that farming measures that are good for the environment, e.g. biodiversity and natural resources, do not automatically benefit the climate. For example, more gentle ploughing methods help to build up a humus layer in the soil, which is known to be a carbon sink – but less use of herbicides normally means that deeper ploughing is necessary to get rid of weeds.