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 Full text 
Monday, 10 December 2018 - Strasbourg Revised edition

Establishing a Programme for the Environment and Climate Action (LIFE) (debate)

  John Stuart Agnew (EFDD). – Mr President, well you’re not going to like this are you, you lot sitting over there? It is such a shame that this LIFE budget is going to be wasted on a totally useless project trying to make farmers improve the world’s weather.

What are the drivers of climate change? The main one, of course, is the activity of the cosmic rays, this atomised cosmic dust and, where our atmosphere condenses against it, cloud cover. What can the farmers do about these exploding stars? Nothing at all. What can the farmers do about the five different solar cycles whose cycle is well understood and that have caused the changes in our climate for over 2 000 years? Farmers can’t change the solar cycles. Farmers can’t change the gravitational pulls of other planets. Farmers certainly can’t change the ocean currents.

We haven’t even got on to greenhouse gases yet, which are pretty trivial – the most important one of those for climate change is water vapour, and yet you never hear about that, and a very good thing too, because that is our cloud cover.

They all talk about CO2. Yes, the levels have gone up. Why have they gone up? Because of the warming we had in the last part of the last century: the seas got warmer and released some CO2. CO2 is a consequence of global warming, it isn’t a cause of it. Then we’ve got methane that farmers produce in tiny, tiny quantities – it is a tiny, tiny gas. In any case, it breaks down to CO2 and water vapour. There’s no point in fiddling around trying to do anything with that. Then, of course, we’ve got nitrous oxide, the leguminous crops. We are wasting our time in trying to persuade farmers they can change the world’s weather.

What could we be doing with this budget? We’ve got a serious problem worldwide called anti-microbial resistance. Farmers do have a part to play in trying to overcome this. We could use this LIFE budget to find ways of improving biosecurity on farms and then allocating grants to make the biosecurity a lot better. We could offer grants to farmers to cull their flocks when the only choice is to give them antibiotics. This would be a very good way of preventing antibiotic use. We could use this budget to research the breeding of harder, more resistant birds, instead of them requiring antibiotics. This is what we should be doing, not fooling around trying to persuade farmers they can be King Cnut.

Last updated: 5 April 2019Legal notice