The EESC is very much engaged in the fight against climate change and strongly agrees that there is a need to introduce effective and immediate actions. Climate change and biodiversity loss are interlinked and must be addressed together. Habitat loss, pollution, overharvesting and the spread of invasive species have to be tackled to ensure that natural ecosystems are preserved and the vital social and economic role of land-based sectors is fulfilled.
Member States should design legislative frameworks that incentivise farmers and forest managers to pursue new sustainable business models that foster biodiversity, apply circular economy rules and generate sustainable practices in biomass production. The EESC calls for national restoration programmes for high quality wetlands and considers that wetland emissions should be accounted for as soon as possible, and not only from 2026 onwards.
Since climate change mitigation is a global challenge, the EESC considers that the EU's efforts must be complemented by targeted effective external discussions about immediate global involvement, fair burden sharing and fair competition.
The EESC calls for wide promotion of and support for sustainable agricultural practices like crop rotation, recovery of organic waste, precision agriculture, permaculture etc. Land must be managed carefully in all Member States, ensuring the right balance between competitiveness and sustainability, and providing the necessary funding opportunities.
Wood-based and other types of bioenergy have a very important role to play and it should be pursued if and when biomass is produced sustainably. However, importing biomass comes with specific associated risks, which are not covered by the EU legislative framework. EU trade policy should help prevent imports of biomass resulting in deforestation in the countries of origin.
The EESC appreciates the Commission's proposal to pursue a comprehensive assessment of the national inventory data in 2025, since data analysis is mainly based on the National Forest Inventories (NFI), which are uncorrelated and sometimes incomplete or inaccurate.
Upskilling and reskilling programmes for both entrepreneurs and workers are needed in order to ensure access to the newest available technologies and digital skills that enhance sustainability. The social partners and relevant civil society organisations have an important role to play and must be involved in both the planning and implementation phases of the Fit for 55 package.