Brian Gardner's Blog

Archives for Environment

The basis of the case against the use of food crops in the production of biofuels is that it raises food prices and leads to environmental degradation in crop exporting third countries. This is the justification for the European Commission’s proposal to limit food crop utilisation in the production of biofuels. The proposal is that… » read more

Posted by Brian Gardner

The European Parliament’s somewhat frenzied concern about the possible indirect land use change (ILUC) resulting from EU biofuel policies is a splendid example of the phenomenon of unintended consequences. While acting on the basis of some pretty questionable science, the MEPs are constructing a new form of protectionism which is likely to damage the interests… » read more

Posted by Brian Gardner

It seems inevitable that the current drive to reform European agriculture policy as part of the 2014-20 budget re-vamp is likely to be a great opportunity missed. The deliberations of the Commission, Parliament and Council are leading on to a massive over-complication of the policy. The potpourri of social, environmental and production supporting measures is… » read more

Posted by Brian Gardner

The European Union’s biofuels policy is an outstanding example of the working out of the so-called ‘law’ of unintended consequences. At the time of the biofuels policy’s birth, the advantages of encouraging the conversion of food crops to ‘green’ fuel seemed obvious. In the mid-1990s Europe and the developed world generally were awash with surplus… » read more

Posted by Brian Gardner

WHY THE WORLD NEEDS GM CROPS

Anyone who has studied the science of genetic modification of food crops knows full well that they pose no threat to human health or wellbeing. Likewise, they also know that they have the potential to make a major contribution to increasing world food supplies. Most vitally, they could represent a means of increasing the food… » read more

Posted by Brian Gardner

Agricultural policy makers in the European Union tend to devote a lot of energy to worrying about the aging of the agricultural population. While this trend undoubtedly has important implications for the social structure and economic health of Europe’s remoter areas, in the longer term it may not be the problem as currently conceived. There… » read more

Posted by Brian Gardner

MORE FOOD WITHOUT MORE LAND?

If an increasing world population is to be adequately fed, food production has to be increased. Estimates vary on just how big the increase has to be. They range between increases of 45-50 per cent on the optimistic side, to the worst case scenario of over 80 per cent by the mid-century. What most analysts… » read more

Posted by Brian Gardner

CAP reform or mere trimming?

The European Commission’s proposals for so-called ‘reform’ of the common agricultural policy are nothing of sort. They are basically a justification for continuing the present policy into the post-2013 budget phase largely unchanged, As farm commissioner Dacian Ciolos has had to admit, the policy is currently suffering a ‘crisis of legitimacy’. Though he may be… » read more

Posted by Brian Gardner

For farmer’s organisations and a majority of European Union member state governments radical change of the common agricultural policy is unthinkable. Any moves towards a more rational payment of income subsidies, let alone their phasing out, would inevitably mean a tectonic shift in the balance of payments to particular groups of farmers and in the… » read more

Posted by Brian Gardner

The European Commission has now clearly given up on any further attempt to apply a rational, scientifically-based policy to the regulation of the development and commercial use of genetically modified crops. Its announcement that it is proposing to grant individual member states the right to decide for themselves whether to allow their farmers to grow… » read more

Posted by Brian Gardner