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ENVI's binding target will weigh down on Europe's livestock sector – Copa & Cogeca

In its response to the European Parliament (EP) Environment, Public Health, and Food Safety Committee (ENVI) report on the EU Strategy to reduce methane emissions, adopted on September 28, 2021, Copa & Cogeca, a European association of farmers and their cooperatives, says it supports many of the adopted amendments but regrets that once again, the debate focused on "binding targets and measures" as the only solution.

In its response to the European Parliament (EP) Environment, Public Health, and Food Safety Committee (ENVI) report on the EU Strategy to reduce methane emissions, adopted on September 28, 2021, Copa & Cogeca, a European association of farmers and their cooperatives, says it supports many of the adopted amendments but regrets that once again, the debate focused on “binding targets and measures” as the only solution.

According to Copa & Cogeca, recent studies on Farm to Fork have “clearly demonstrated” that targets neither envisage the necessary means or tools nor capture complex trade-offs. Adding to existing targets, the ENVI’s proposal for a new binding target will weigh down on and could further damage the EU livestock sector, threaten food security, while unavoidably creating carbon leakage to third countries.

Copa & Cogeca acknowledge that the role of the agricultural sector in the reduction of biogenic methane emissions is of paramount importance but highlight that the efforts in agriculture must be continued using “a fair, cross-sectoral approach that is in line with the European Green Deal and Europe’s commitments under the Paris Agreement. We welcome the fact that the ENVI Committee report acknowledges European farmers’ efforts, as shown by the 22 percent decrease in methane emissions in EU-28 between 1990 and 2018.”

The association says it supports the call from/to MEPs to increase the uptake of manure management practices, as well as the development of biogas to valorize waste and residues.

We regret that the debate around a binding target has sidestepped several key issues particularly around how to measure methane emissions in the agricultural sector. Copa and Cogeca cannot support the call for mandatory monitoring, public reporting, and verification for all methane emitting sectors as the collection and accuracy of data at the farm level or of SMEs can be complex and potentially unfair. Copa and Cogeca members urge the European institutions to further their discussions and reflections on the agricultural sector’s potential to reduce its methane emissions, with a clear focus on more concrete solutions, tools, and enabling policies, the statement said.

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