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Germany's new agriculture commission aims to reconcile climate, environment and farming

8th Sep 2020 | Economics

Article by: Kerstine Appunn

Clean Energy Wire
Germany’s new “Commission on the Future of Agriculture” tasked with drawing up recommendations for a productive and time resource-efficient agriculture industry model has met for the first time. The 31 members of the commission aim is to develop a comprehensive common understanding of how improved animal welfare, biodiversity and climate and environmental protection can be reconciled with the safeguarding of harvests and the economic viability of domestic farms. “Agriculture is by no means to blame for every climate and environmental issue,” agriculture minister Julia Klöckner (CDU) said at the event, adding that at the same time the concerns of activists in the environmental, climate and animal protection scene were not "crazy stuff," but issues to be taken seriously.
Environment minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) said there was no question that the agriculture and food industries must become more environmentally compatible, with the “how” being up for debate. “These questions also arise against the background that the agricultural sector receives more public funding from the EU, the federal government and the states than almost any other sector,” Schulze said.

Germany has a good track-record with using independent “commissions” made up from experts and stakeholders from business and civil society to find solutions for societal questions such as the nuclear and coal exit – and now agriculture. The new commission on the future of agriculture is an attempt to incorporate climate and environment concerns into farming practices that are driven by low food-prices and international competition, all against the backdrop of drought events and bad harvests in recent years and the growing climate movement amongst young people. Agriculture in Germany was responsible for 7.4 percent of annual greenhouse-gas emissions in 2018.