Despite the Brussels weather, we’ve really started to feel the heat. February erupted alongside the smell of burnt tyres and beeping horns. Farmers, or rather diverse movements within the farming sector, drove their tractors to the EU capital to express their anger and frustration at a system that has been ignoring their needs. Leaders across Europe should not be taken by surprise: who wouldn’t revolt after being crushed for decades by a broken agricultural system? 🚜 
Speaking of heat (and science), scientists are calling for scientists to more actively debunk green misinformation. And talks on the long-awaited Net-Zero Industry Act have come to a frustrating final result that does not give scientifically proven decarbonisation solutions the support they deserve. To top it off, the EU’s 2040 climate target communication relies extensively on unproven, speculative alternatives that might only exacerbate the climate crisis… Let’s get into it! 
THE FIRST TO FEEL IT: Farmers are among the first victims of Europe’s current exploitative and unsustainable agricultural model. The EU’s ancient Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)—counting around one third of the EU’s budget (€54 billion per year!!)—has for decades undermined small-scale farmers. How? By locking them into a spiral of intensively industrial farming that forces them to increase yields to remain competitive. 
NO ECOSYSTEM, NO FARMER, NO FOOD: The current system comes to the extreme detriment of ecosystems that ultimately sustain food production, whilst also accelerating climate breakdown—a crisis first and foremost affecting farmers themselves.   
TIME FOR REVIEW: The CAP—now more than 60 years old—has decimated small-scale family farming. Between 2005 and 2020, the number of farms in the EU decreased by almost 40%, forcing approximately 5.3 million farmers out of business. 
THE BILLIONS ARE THERE BUT… the lay of the land is profoundly unequal. 20% of farmers—those that make up the largest and richest agricultural holdings—receive a whooping 80% of the CAP budget. 52% of EU farmland is owned by 3% of farms… Smaller farmers are squeezed out and forced to accept prices dictated by powerful agribusiness and their lobbies that also happen to be poorly regulated. Hmmm… 
NO WONDER FARMERS ARE MAD—and it is towards this outdated system that anger should be directed! 
NO THANKS: The transition to a socially and environmentally just food and farming system cannot take place unless farmers are treated with dignity and afforded the support they need. Unsurprisingly, many farmers would rather not be exposed to dangerous levels of pesticides harming the health of themselves, their families, and the environment around them. 
AGAINST OUR INTERESTS: The Sustainable use of Pesticides regulation (SUR) had outlined a clear plan to deal with these problems. Regrettably, in a clear vote against the interests and health of farmers, the EU Commission this week buried any last hope of the SUR’s adoption. See the reaction from our partners at Pesticide Action Network Europe.  
THE EEB SPEAKS TO THE WORLD this week in several TV and media appearances on all of this. Our AGRI team has been beyond busy making sure everyone knows what’s what and the solutions—check these out on Twitter/X and LinkedIn
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? In an open letter originally signed by 6000 scientists(!)—that has been expanded to a full paper—scientists are saying that they need to more proactively engage in debates on the benefits of the EU Green Deal. Especially to debunk misinformation on the essentiality of SUR and NRL (Nature Restoration Law), amongst others.   
DON’T FUEL THE FIRE: The EU Commission’s new 90% emission reduction target for 2040 and industrial carbon management strategy rely heavily on unproven and expensive technologies. A major pillar of this strategy is Carbon Capture Use and Storage (CCS) which, according to the IPCC—even if implemented at full potential—would only account for 2.4% of the world’s carbon mitigation by 2030
PLAY YOUR PART: All sectors must play their part in decarbonising the economy—also the EU Commission—which has failed to set an ambitious emissions reduction target in agriculture. As we now know, this will only worsen the impacts of the climate, biodiversity and pollution crises, putting even more strain on farmers and their livelihoods.   
A BIT OF PERSONAL NEWS: We recently expanded our digital presence to Instagram and TikTok! We are also on Bluesky. Give us a follow and don’t miss our latest green news, updates, and work at the EU level and beyond. Tune in and let us know what you think!  
APPLY NOW We have several openings and if YOU are looking for a great new opportunity, apply now! Fancy yourself as the EEB’s next HR head honchoBiodiversity influencer or storyteller, or even top dog for Air Quality and Agriculture? We are also looking for a (Deputy) Policy Manager Zero Pollution Industry

Check out our website for more information about the roles and the application process. 

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