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EU sets out first-ever soil law to protect food security and slow global heating

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece here in The Guardian or enjoy below

🗞️ Driving the news: The European Commission has recently proposed the first-ever soil law in Europe
• The new law asks countries to monitor soil health, fertilizer use, and soil erosion
It aims to rejuvenate degraded soils allowing them to absorb carbon again at optimal levels, however, not setting specific improvement goals for each country

🔭 The context: Land use is the second largest source of greenhouse gas emissions after fossil fuels and contributes significantly to biodiversity loss
• This proposal comes at a time when more than 60% of EU soils are deemed unhealthy

🌍 Why does it matter for the planet: Restoring soils could help to limit global heating to within 1.5°C, as suggested by recent research
• Healthy soils can better withstand droughts and floods, and play a critical role in carbon sequestration

⏭️ What’s next: The European agri-food industry believes the law must go further to effectively address soil health deterioration
• The law now relies on EU member states and the European Parliament to possibly increase its scope and impact

💬 One quote: "If our soils continue to degrade, the biggest risk is to our food security and farmers. Basically, their business model is wiped out. I can hardly imagine how we could do agriculture without fertile soils." (Virginijus Sinkevičius, EU environment commissioner)

📈 One stat: "More than 60% of the EU’s soils are considered to be in an unhealthy state." (Virginijus Sinkevičius, EU environment commissioner)

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