This post is part of a series about the UK review of the balance of competence between the EU and the Member States (and the UK in particular). For more details about the review as a whole see my earlier post.
The Department for Food, Rural Affairs and Agriculture is in charge of the call for evidence relating to Environment and Climate Change.
The call for evidence is quite long but worth a read.
The response required is by way of an online survey. The questions are predictable and include (I paraphrase):
- Would it be in the UK’s interest if the EU did less/more/the same?
- Is the EU hindering UK industry through its environment and climate change actions?
The survey does not require a high degree of detailed knowledge of the Common Agricultural Policy at all; it does require a basic understanding of environmental issues and climate change research.
The UK has been one of the Member States that has put the brakes on environmental and climate change policies pushed by the EU. This includes, for example, binding targets for energy efficiency – one of the easiest things to implement and one which would make a huge amount of difference – and the European Commission’s attempt to make 30% of the subsidy from the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) dependent on environmental actions on the part of the farmers. Given the fact that the UK is always saying that its farmers don’t benefit much from the CAP as it is – a claim that is at least in part justifiable – then any change that would have focused on making farming greener could have been very much in the interests of some of the UK’s most forward looking organic farmers.
So it is important to get across an understanding on the part of the public that climate change matters, that the environment matters, and that some of us do not want short term profit motives on the part of any industry – including agriculture – to lead us to neglect care of the planet.
It is also important to make sure that the government knows that we understand that the environment and the climate do not respect national boundaries; therefore, action and coordination at international level (and that includes the EU and the broader international community) makes perfect sense.
Finally, it is important to make sure the government knows that we noticed that the EU and its Member States (including the UK) were completely sidelined in the climate talks in Copenhagen because they couldn’t find a common voice. And we don’t want that to happen again!
If you’re interested, you can read my response to the survey here.
More importantly, you have until 12 August to make your own response.