Article: EU Common Agricultural Policy direct payments, Nitrogen balance and eutrophication of the Baltic Sea


Abstract

Eutrophication continues to be a priority threat to the Baltic Sea and further reduction of nutrient run-off is necessary. Since big part of nitrogen inputs originates from agriculture, impact of common agricultural policy (CAP) direct payments needs to be assessed. According to our hypothesis the direct payments create a possibility to use bigger quantities of procured inputs like mineral fertiliser and farm animal fodder than would otherwise be used, thus contributing to surplus nitrogen that is leading to the run-off and thus eutrophication of the Baltic Sea. We checked the hypothesis by comparing the payment levels to nitrogen balances and use in EU member states. The analysis revealed a reliable correlation between these, that is consistent with our hypothesis of higher payments leading to bigger surplus and hence contributing to eutrophication. We therefore conclude that CAP direct payments are a case of environmentally harmful subsidy and abolishing these would represent a cost-effective measure on the way to improve environmental status of the Baltic Sea.

Read the whole article written by experts of Estonian Fund for Nature A.Lotman and K. Kasak HERE!



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