UFOP welcomes German Bundestag’s decision to ratify Paris climate protection agreement

Special role of agriculture legally grounded as a producer of food and raw material - bioeconomy is an important part of the solution

Berlin, 29 September 2016. The Union for the Promotion of Oil and Protein Plants (UFOP) notes that Germany, as one of the leading industrial nations within the community of states, is making a pioneering move with the decision of the German Bundestag to ratify the Paris climate protection agreement. On the one hand, this acknowledges responsibility for the historical development of global greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, it places the objective of greenhouse gas reduction at the focus of future political decisions. The union indicates that, in accordance with Article 2 of the agreement, the ratification likewise emphasises the special role of agriculture as a producer of foodstuffs.

UFOP recognises that agriculture is also called upon to contribute to food production that is as low in emissions as possible. However, this unilateral restriction on end use does not correspond with the historical and future significance of global agriculture, which has always produced energy and renewable resources. The policy must take this fact into account in the further formation of the promotion and regulatory framework conditions. Otherwise the policy would undo its efforts towards developing a national and European bioeconomy strategy.

UFOP encourages the national implementation on a European level and its alignment with the national plans of action of all signatory states to be put into place by 2020. The draft for the climate protection action plan of 2050 unfortunately already reveals that the dialogue previously conducted by the Federal Environmental Ministry with all social groups is leading to a very rushed implementation. Unfortunately, many suggestions and arguments are still being ignored. The result is more a dictation than a discourse capable of reaching consensus. The federal government must therefore now involve the respective business sectors in the further consultations so that the required collaboration ultimately enables an evolutionary development, as all sectors must ultimately be able to hold their ground in global markets. For the agricultural sector, UFOP emphasises that climate protection does not come for free. On the contrary: The federal government and federal states must prepare means to reverse or prevent negative developments, e.g. in agricultural consultation, variety testing bodies, in the formation and stabilisation of development networks, etc.

A central aspect of the climate protection strategy is the bioenergy policy, particularly with regard to biofuels. The union calls for a solution-oriented discussion, for example in the case of promoting the use of biofuels in agriculture and forestry. This example makes it clear that the special role of agriculture cannot be limited to the production of foodstuffs if rapeseed is cultivated for the production of genetically unmodified rapeseed meal for animal feed and the rapeseed oil is processed into sustainably certified biofuel or hydraulic oil, which yields glycerine that is used in the chemical industry.