European Parliament to vote on two major climate and nature laws this July
Two plenary votes are coming up at the European Parliament that could have a huge impact on the planet; one on the Industrial Emissions Directive and the other on the Nature Restoration Law. It’s critical that policymakers vote in favour of nature, as well as for an ambitious threshold for animal agriculture, so that we can get to work on the urgent task of mitigating our impact on the climate and natural landscapes.
Find out below why these laws are so important, what impact these two plenary votes could have and what we, along with some of our members, have to say about them.
What is the Industrial Emissions Directive?
The Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) has been designed to stop and/or control industrial emissions.
Adopted in 2010, it’s currently the main policy in Europe to regulate pollutant emissions from industry, including from air pollution and wastewater discharge.
In 2022, the Commission adopted proposals to make the IED stronger by including emissions from large cattle farms within its scope, in addition to the large pig and poultry farms that were already covered.
Any installation controlled by the IED is forced to reduce emissions, and needs a permit to operate. The original Commission proposal suggested including more industrial-size animal farms, with a threshold of 150 or more livestock units (LSU). 150 LSU corresponds to, as examples, a large farm with 500 pigs, 150 dairy cows, 10,700 laying hens or 21,400 broiler chickens.
The goal of this revision was to bring the Directive more closely in-line with the goals set out in the European Green Deal, and other relevant policies. The debate around it has also put the intensification of EU animal farming in the spotlight.
On July 10, the European Parliament will vote on the Commission’s proposal. If they vote in favour of it, amazing steps could be taken to reduce our industrial emissions - especially from agriculture.
If they vote against it, however, these systems will continue to cause great damage to nature and the climate - which they’re already doing at an alarming rate.
What is the Nature Restoration Law?
Last year, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a Nature Restoration Law, which focuses on how we can recover and protect our ecosystems. Among its targets, the proposal aims to restore at least 20% of the EU’s land and sea areas by 2030 and all ecosystems in need by 2050.
There are plenty of positive examples of where nature restoration strategies have been successful. Deploying these kinds of strategies at EU level, then, would have sweeping impacts on biodiversity, land and marine ecosystems, the health of our soils (which is critical for food security) and more. As with the Industrial Emissions Directive, it’s extremely important that policymakers acknowledge the necessity of this move and vote in its favour.
What are the stakes?
The 2020 State of Nature in the EU report states that only 14% of habitats and only 27% of non-bird species currently have good conservation status. Moreover, the 2021 assessment for the EU Red List of Birds showed that 1 out of 3 bird species declined over the last few decades. These numbers demonstrate that, beyond species’ populations, wild animal individuals in the EU are suffering from a decline in the quality of their habitats. Habitat loss is a major source of stress for wild animals, restraining their movements and threatening their access to food, water and shelter.
These issues clearly can’t be allowed to develop any further. Only action at EU level will help us to mitigate our impacts on the climate and environment in a meaningful way. That’s why we’re working with our members to call on the European Parliament to address these plenary votes with the seriousness they deserve.
It’s time for our policies to meet our planet’s needs!
We’re looking to the European Parliament to redefine ‘climate change’ -by changing the course of the climate crisis, instead of letting it continue - and using their power for the planet’s good.
Farming should look far different by 2050. Here’s what we’re hoping for the future: