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EU Countries Seek to Water Down Ambitious Nature Law

EU Countries Seek to Water Down Ambitious Nature Law

Ireland and other European Union countries are seeking to soften several key provisions of the EU’s forthcoming nature law, a draft document obtained by Reuters reveals. The European Commission’s original proposal aims to restore Europe’s damaged natural habitats by setting binding targets for member states to revive damaged ecosystems. However, countries are pushing for loopholes that would allow them to dodge certain targets, including the restoration of peatlands used for agriculture.

Countries, including Ireland, are seeking to weaken the target of restoring peatlands, which are characterized by a water-logged ecosystem like bogs, to 30% by 2030. Instead, they advocate for a reduction to 40% by 2040 and 50% by 2050. Peatlands play a crucial role in mitigating climate change by storing CO2 and reducing the impacts of climate-related floods. This pushback is particularly contentious in Ireland, where peatlands make up 20% of the land and are often drained for fuel and farmed upon.

EU Countries Seek to Water Down Ambitious Nature Law

An Irish government spokesperson defended the country’s stance, claiming that Ireland already has national targets for reviving peatlands. However, environmentalists and conservationists are deeply concerned about the potential consequences of weakening the law, which could lead to further degradation of Europe’s natural habitats. EU diplomats confirm that Ireland has led the charge in seeking to weaken the peatland targets.

Despite the resistance, the European Commission remains committed to the law, and the parties involved are engaged in tense negotiations. The proposed law still needs to be approved by both EU countries and the European Parliament, with the largest lawmaker group having already called for its rejection. Environmentalists are left to wonder what a watered-down version of the law would mean for the future of Europe’s natural habitats. The fate of the EU’s nature law hangs in the balance, as countries and the Commission continue to negotiate the terms of the legislation.

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