EU Ministers Discuss Agriculture and Climate
In the past weekend, the EU:s Ministers of Agriculture and fisheries convened in Växjö in southern Sweden for an informal meeting. The theme of the meeting is agriculture and climate: how the climate changes affects the agriculture and how agriculture affects the climate change.
Emelie Hansson from the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation says it is an important focus, since agriculture represents 20 % of the causes of climate change.
"The climate is very important and topical right now, and agriculture has to do its share, both lowering emissions, as well as looking at how we are going to be able to produce food without using fossil energy, and how we are going to deal with more rain and storms, and a completely changed climate, and how we are going to be able to produce food under those conditions," says Emelie Hanson Swedish Society for Nature Conservation.
Hanson is critical of the Swedish government's decision to adjust to the rest of the EU and abolish the tax on fertilizer from the new year.
"It is really unfortunate that they took away this tool, which actually was very efficient. It reduced the effect on the climate and returned funding to farmers for projects that help to lower greenhouse gas emissions," says Emelie Hanson.
Though Sweden was alone in the EU in having this tax, Emelie Hansson thinks that the Swedish Government should have tried to export it as a tool for lowering the harmful emissions.
But Swedish Agriculture Minister Eskil Erlandsson says they are abolishing the tax to compensate farmers for the increased tax on diesel fuel. He adds that Swedish food production needs to be able to compete on the international market.
"If we do not produce our food, someone else will. I think it is better that we do it, because we do it in a more environmentally friendly way than many others, and the food will not be transported as far, and on top of everything else it creates jobs for all of Sweden," says Sweden's Agricultural Minister Eskil Erlandsson.