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EU plans to plant 3 billion trees as part of new Green Deal

This article originally featured in The Skylark’s newsletter and was written as a condensed news in brief.

The European Union has set out plans to plant 3 billion trees over the next decade in a bid to reverse the loss of wildlife and habitats. The strategy, part of the European Commission’s ambitious new European Green Deal, will also seek to protect 30% of Europe’s land and seas, with strict protections for ancient forests in particular.

Frans Timmermans, the Commission’s vice-president for the Deal has even suggested the strategy is integral to avoiding future pandemics like the Covid-19 crisis. “The biodiversity strategy is essential for boosting our resilience and preventing the emergence and spread of future diseases such as zoonoses,” he told a press conference.

The European Green Deal aims to bring together all 27 nation states under a combined and collaborative initiative to transform the bloc into a low carbon economy, without reducing prosperity, while improving citizens’ quality of life through cleaner air, water and better health. The first major milestone will be to reduce carbon emissions by 50% compared to 1990 levels in the next ten years.

Other proposals under the strategy include reducing pesticide use by 50% and encouraging more sustainable agricultural practices as part of its Farm to Fork programme. While all this sounds encouraging, each measure first needs approval from all member states and the European Parliament, which could potentially seek to water proposals down.

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