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EU torn apart as Greta Thunberg dismantles bloc for turning blind eye to science

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Greta Thunberg slams EU for ‘giving up’ on climate change

Brussels has often been credited with being at the forefront of efforts to protect the environment and curb human exacerbated global warming. Yet, it has at times been accused of falling short of the mark it demands countries meet. One of its most contentious pieces of legislation that has been condemned time and again is the CAP.

Not only has the CAP led to the removal of hedgerows – and with that the loss of animal habitats – it has also contributed to the dramatic destruction of woodlands and wetlands, and added to a culture of overproduction and subsequent waste.

Teenage climate activist Ms Thunberg, now 18, has long since focused her efforts on pointing out the EU’s inadequacies over environmental issues.

On Monday evening, she appears in the BBC’s documentary, ‘Greta Thunberg: A Year to Change the World’.

The programme followed her global voyage over the course of 2019 and 2020 where she explored the science of global warming and challenged world leaders to take action on the growing crisis.

Earlier this year, Ms Thunberg focused her attention on the EU’s Green Deal chief Frans Timmermans, accusing him of lacking the courage to align the bloc’s giant farm subsidies scheme with his own climate goals.

After a virtual meeting with Ms Timmermans, Ms Thunberg and three additional campaigners said they told the EU chief to withdraw the bloc’s plans for the next seven-year CAP if he cannot guarantee it would match the climate ambitions of the Green Deal and the Paris climate accord.

She told Politico: “I’m sure that he does everything he can, but we really need to be realistic and say that the time for small steps in the right direction is long gone and we cannot look away from the science anymore.”

Ms Thunberg added that the conversation was “just like we expected it to be”.

EU news: The bloc was slammed by Greta Thunberg for its Common Agricultural Policy

EU news: The bloc was slammed by Greta Thunberg for its Common Agricultural Policy (Image: GETTY)

Frans Timmermans: The EU's Green Deal chief was accused of not doing enough to oppose the CAP

Frans Timmermans: The EU’s Green Deal chief was accused of not doing enough to oppose the CAP (Image: PA)

She continued: “We urged them to listen to the science and say once again that according to the overall science it’s becoming more and more crystal clear, it’s undeniable that this is not in line with the Paris agreement, it’s not in line with the 1.5 degree target.”

Last year, Mr Timmermans said he could still withdraw the CAP reform proposal if its environmental ambition is drained by the other EU institutions.

Their positions have been criticised by the likes of Ms Thunberg and other climate activists for favouring farmers over green measures.

Mr Timmermans has yet to act on his words, however.

Last year, Ms Thunberg accused politicians of failing to acknowledge the extent of the climate crisis and said its €750billion (£649bn) COVID-19 recovery plan failed to reach the level needed.

She told The Guardian: “They are still denying the fact and ignoring the fact that we are facing a climate emergency, and the climate crisis has still not once been treated as a crisis.

“As long as the climate crisis is not being treated as a crisis, the changes that are necessary will not happen.”

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Greta Thunberg: The climate activist has long condemned the EU and others for a lack of action

Greta Thunberg: The climate activist has long condemned the EU and others for a lack of action (Image: GETTY)

The EU’s CAP has long since been a cause for concern, especially for those less well-developed nations.

Robert Tombs, the British historian, told Express.co.uk that the policy, among other things, amounts to the EU “operating like an empire”.

Brian Denny, a spokesman for Trade Unionists Against the EU, a few years ago wrote in a blog post of how “the EU starves Africa”.

He said the EU’s “criminal” CAP piles Africa with subsidised food at the demise of the continent’s farmers.

Oxfam has previously warned over the debilitating programme, which Claire Godfrey, trade policy adviser for the charity, said in 2011: “Not only does the Common Agricultural Policy hit European shoppers in their pockets but strikes a blow against the heart of development in places like Africa.

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Environment: Greta pictured with VDL and Timmermans at the European Commission in 2020

Environment: Greta pictured with VDL and Timmermans at the European Commission in 2020 (Image: PA)

European Commission: There, Greta cautioned EU leaders over their lack of urgency on the climate

European Commission: There, Greta cautioned EU leaders over their lack of urgency on the climate (Image: GETTY)

“The CAP lavishes subsidies on the UK’s wealthiest farmers and biggest landowners at the expense of millions of poorest farmers in the developing world.

“The UK Government must lobby hard within the EU to agree an overhaul of the CAP by 2008 to put an end to the vicious cycle of overproduction and dumping.”

The £30billion (€34bn)-a-year EU agricultural subsidy causes one of the biggest iniquities facing Africa, as well as other developing parts of the world.

Farmers there are left unable to export their products because they are forced to compete with the lower prices made possible by the subsidies.

Prof Tombs described this as one of the biggest “ethical arguments against the EU”.

Environment tax: The European countries leading the way in environmental tax

Environment tax: The European countries leading the way in environmental tax (Image: Express Newspapers)

Green Britain: Six ways Britain can lead the way in becoming a green country

Green Britain: Six ways Britain can lead the way in becoming a green country (Image: Express Newspapers)

In a 2018 opinion piece for Express.co.uk, Atiku Abubala, the former Vice President of Nigeria, wrote: “It is time to release the African lion economies such as Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya.

“We can be the catalyst for a worldwide Commonwealth trade deal with none of the disadvantages of the EU’s attempt to run Britain from Brussels.”

Express.co.uk has recently launched a campaign to help save Britain’s environment.

Ursula von der Leyen: The environment and global warming are two mammoth tasks VDL faces

Ursula von der Leyen: The environment and global warming are two mammoth tasks VDL faces (Image: GETTY)

We are calling on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to show world leadership on the issue in the run-up to the G7 summit in Cornwall in June and the crunch Cop 26 climate change summit in Glasgow in November.

Along with green entrepreneur Dale Vince we have called on the Government to scrap VAT on green products and to make more space for nature.

‘Greta Thunberg: A Year to Change the World’ airs at 9pm on BBC One tonight.



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