Brussels – A deforestation action plan released today by the European Commission paints a bleak picture of Europe’s responsibility for global deforestation, but fails to address the environmental and human cost of EU trade and farming policies, warned Greenpeace.
However, in a timid response to calls from the European Parliament and several European governments, the Commission recognises that legislation may be necessary to sever the link between deforestation and European consumption, in particular of commodities like soy, palm oil, beef, coffee and cocoa.
Greenpeace EU legal expert Andrea Carta said: “Today’s communication shows that this Commission is well aware of the EU’s role in global deforestation, but lacks the political courage to call into question its trade and farming dogmas. Access to new markets for a handful of multinationals cannot outweigh the ecological, climate and human cost of trade deals like the EU-Mercosur agreement. The next Commission must show that its commitment to stand up for human rights and tackle the ecological and climate crisis is not just skin deep.”
Greenpeace calls on the next Commission to urgently table new laws to ensure that products placed on the EU market are no longer linked to deforestation, forest degradation, or human rights violations, and that the EU financial sector does not underpin this devastation. New policy plans must also help reduce Europe’s overconsumption of meat and dairy products, which is an important driver of deforestation.
Forest destruction is a major cause of climate change and species extinction, and is often associated with human rights abuses. Scientists say the protection and restoration of forests needs to play a major part in reducing global emissions by removing and storing carbon from the atmosphere.
The European Commission and the governments of the Mercosur common market (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay) recently concluded talks for a trade agreement, which has been described as an environmental disaster.
Andrea Carta – Greenpeace EU legal expert: +32 (0)499 277854, [email protected]
Greenpeace EU press desk: +32 (0)2 274 1911, [email protected]
For breaking news and comment on EU affairs: www.twitter.com/GreenpeaceEU
Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace. Greenpeace does not accept donations from governments, the EU, businesses or political parties.