Ref. Ares(2018)5354119 - 18/10/2018
Ref. Ares(2019)2108831 - 26/03/2019
To the kind attention of Commissioner Cecilia Malmström
CC: Trade Expert Group Secretariat [email address]
Brussels, 18 October 2018
Dear Commissioner Cecilia Malmström,
Re: EU trade policy and climate change
The recent report from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said that if we are
to have any chance of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial
levels, then “quick, extremely far reaching and unprecedented changes are necessary”.
The IPCC’s message does not appear to have made much impact on DG Trade, given the
stated policy of pursuing as many free trade agreements as possible, regardless of their
environmental impact. A particular case in point concerns the importation of beef from the
Americas and Australasia if the EU manages to conclude agreements with Mercosur, Australia
and New Zealand. In the wake of the IPCC report, scientists have concluded that projected
increases in beef consumption around the world are incompatible with attempts to limit global
warming, especially in countries such as Paraguay and Brazil where significant expansion of
cattle ranching has been achieved at the expense of virgin forest and scrublands that are vital
to our planet’s eco-system.
You will be aware that European beef farmers have repeatedly stated that they cannot
compete with imports from South America. From a holistic standpoint, it therefore makes little
sense to import thousands of tons of meat from the other side of the globe when the net effect
will be to put European farmers out of business, encourage the destruction of the environment
and hasten the onset of catastrophic climate change.
In a declining market, there is more than enough beef on this continent to satisfy demand. The
cost of the damage occasioned by unfettered climate change will dwarf any short-term
economic gains of importing cheaper meat from distant parts of the world so a call to cease
beef imports is not a protectionist measure for European farmers but rather a rational and
proportional response to an unprecedented, existential threat to our very existence.
We look forward to your comments on this issue and am,