Europe’s rural land faces many competing demands for the provision of food, energy and timber, as well as environmental and cultural services. There is scarcely any true wilderness left in the EU, so the ways in which land is managed affects the quality of the environment as well as the character and social fabric of much of rural Europe.
The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) continues to be a major driver of land use and management decisions. Other sectoral policies, such as those promoting renewable energy, protecting biodiversity and regulating water quality and usage have an important influence too.
IEEP seeks to inform and influence the development of the key EU policies that affect the sustainable use of rural land and to encourage the integration of environmental priorities into these policies. We provide independent policy research, analysis and advice focussing on ways in which farming and forestry can help to protect Europe’s natural resources and the wide range of environmental goods and services which they support.
In environmental terms there are at least two ways of looking at the prospects for 2018. Viewed through the rather sober lens of EU process, it has the look of a project completion and tidying up period with limited long term impetus to the last full year of the current European Parliament and Commission.
Moving the CAP towards a focus on performance is a positive step towards aligning agriculture payments more seriously with the delivery of environmental and climate outcomes. But is there a need to ensure that the environmental priorities identified are sufficiently ambitious and that Member States are held accountable?
IEEP's new paper, "Ideas for defining environmental objectives and monitoring systems for a results-oriented CAP post 2020", suggests a way forward.
A new evaluation of the Common Agriculture Policy’s Pillar 1 greening measures for the European Commission, led by IEEP on behalf of Alliance Environnement, found that overall the greening measures have led to only small changes in management practices, except in a few specific areas.
The European Parliament’s first reading opinion on the recast of the Renewable Energy Directive, moves some steps forward in the debate on sustainable use of biomass for energy in Europe. However, the devil is in the (considerable) detail set out in the adopted text.
There is mounting interest in biomass to provide heat, power and, transport fuels but also as a basis for alternative products for replacing plastics, and other fossil fuel derived commodities. How can the bioeconomy and the bioenergy sector evolve to deliver sustainable, coordinated and efficient use of resources?
In a published letter to The Guardian, IEEP's Alan Buckwell argues it is incorrect to describe payments to farmers who manage land for biodiversity and the ecosystem services it provides as "subsidies".
Join PEGASUS stakeholders to discuss delivering environmental and social benefits from agriculture and forestry in a changing policy context.
The Final Conference of the PEGASUS project will take place in Brussels on Wednesday, 7 February 2018 (9:00-17:00). The event will summarise of the results of over 3 years of research on concrete ways to enhance the provision of public goods and ecosystem services by agriculture and forestry, and what this means for policy and practice.
A newly published study for the European Commission by IEEP and partners investigates civil society’s role in improving the effectiveness of environmental taxes to reduce pollution and better manage natural resources.
If caring for the planet starts from the ground, then caring for the planet starts with farmers, foresters and all others who manage and use the EU’s soils. It follows that the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), as a major driver of the decisions made by Europe’s 12 million farmers, is critical to securing responsible, long term management of our soils and related ecosystem services.
The first meeting of the EU Stakeholder Platform for the European Climate Foundation's (ECF) Agriculture net-zero 2050 projectwill take place on the 29th of November in Brussels. Event will discuss the main climate-related drivers of change in the agriculture and land using sectors. Building on the discussions, subsequent phases of the project will investigate what possible transition pathways could look like and what would need to change to enable them to be realised in practice.
While the stand-off on agriculture is continuing between developed and developing countries within climate negotiations, there is a growing consensus among experts that agriculture --and more generally the land use sector--needs to rise at the top of UNFCCC agenda.
Europe needs to ratchet up its climate goals to deliver climate mitigation targets. At the UNFCCC's COP 23, IEEP will lead two side events looking at the role of land use and the agricultural sector in delivering this ambition. What will net zero emissions for agriculture look like, what policies are important in delivering Europe’s land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) goals? What is the role of agricultural policy?