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Thursday, 10 April 2008 - Brussels OJ edition

The Green Paper on 'Adapting to climate change in Europe - options for EU action' (debate)

  Agnes Schierhuber (PPE-DE). – (DE) Mr President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, agriculture and forestry are among the economic sectors hardest hit by climate change and therefore have a strong interest in efficient climate protection measures, also at global level. All states – particularly developing countries – need to be involved in the regime for the post-Kyoto period. Binding targets for developing countries are essential, but emissions must be reduced within a reasonable timeframe.

Through animal husbandry and the use of fertilisers, agriculture does contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Unlike industry, transport and space heating, however, these are natural emissions. Let me give you some examples: in Austria, agriculture produces just 8.66% of emissions. Since 1990, these emissions have fallen by around 14%. Besides waste management, Austrian agriculture is the only sector to have already fulfilled Austria's 'minus 13%' Kyoto target.

The opportunities afforded by agriculture range from CO2 storage in soils, the optimum use of humus and the production of biomass as an energy resource. I would point out, Mr President, that industry in Austria has also made great efforts to keep its emissions as low as possible.

Currently, about 9% of total EU greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, which means it is far less of a polluter than energy use, with 59%, or transport with 21%, for example. Commissioner, if we really are to get a grip on climate change, energy avoidance and increased energy efficiency must be our goals.

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