Should we limit methane emissions as part of air quality policy?

Last week the European Parliament’s Environment Committee (COMENVI) narrowly voted to adopt a report on the Commission’s proposal for a revised National Emissions Ceiling Directive (NECD). The NECD is one of the main measures designed to achieve the EU’s air quality targets in 2020 and 2030 under the Thematic Strategy on Air Pollution. The Commission’s proposal would tighten limits on emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), non-methane volatile organic compounds (NMVOC) and ammonia (NH3) that each member state could emit for the period from 2020 to 2030 as well as introducing limits for the first time on the amount of methane (CH4) emissions after 2030.

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Prospects for CAP reform after 2020

Even though the ink is hardly dry on the 2013 CAP reform, thoughts are turning already to the prospects for the next reform. I have already discussed some aspects relevant to the CAP post 2020 in this post, focusing in particular on a possible timetable of reform and some political economy issues likely to be important in determining the scope and ambition of any revision to the current regulations. I subsequently elaborated that post as a chapter in a book edited by Jo Swinnen on The Political Economy of the 2014-2020 Common Agricultural Policy: An Imperfect Storm which will be published next month (more on that book in due course).… Read the rest

Food Wise 2025 agri-food strategy launched in Ireland

Last week the Irish government launched the latest in a series of rolling ten-year strategies for the Irish agri-food sector called Food Wise 2025 (FW2025). The report follows in the footsteps of Agri Food 2010 (published in 2000), Agri Vision 2015, Food Harvest 2020 (full disclosure: I was a member of the committees that drafted those two reports) and now Food Wise 2025. In this post, I review the latest strategy and comment, in particular, on its environmental implications.
While Food Harvest 2020 (FH2020) contained a number of detailed sectoral targets, Food Wise 2025 avoids this level of quantification and contains just four headline aspirations:
• increase the value of agri food exports by 85% to €19 billion,
• increase value added to the sector by 70% to €13 billion,
• increase the value of primary production by 65% to €10 billion.… Read the rest