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Why Are Farmers Protesting the Tour de France?
By Dan Nosowitz
According to the little explanation in English media we have, the farmers were protesting "to reduce farm subsidies and leave more latitude to member states under the bloc's Common Agriculture Policy (CAP)." The protests are likely tied to an announcement in May that the European Commission proposed to reduce farmer subsidies in its member states, a proposal that was swiftly met with condemnation from the French government.
What Exactly Does That Mean?
The proposal is a reaction to Brexit, in which the UK's exit from the European Union will result in an estimated reduction in the EU coffers of about $14 billion U.S. dollars. With that reduction, the EU has to change the way it allocates money, and one of the places the EU plans to change things is the Common Agriculture Policy, or CAP, which handles agriculture subsidies and rural development, sort of like the non-nutrition parts of the American USDA.
The cut in the CAP budget would be about five percent, which might not seem like a lot, but France, with its "politically influential but economically struggling" agriculture sector (description according to The Local France), would be hit harder than any other country. The FNSEA, France's biggest agricultural union, wrote back in May, "Such a budget is unacceptable: it won't allow agriculture to meet the new challenges it faces, particularly price volatility and climate change." In specific terms, the proposal suggests a cap on the number of subsidies that can go to farmers, based on farm size, with the maximum subsidy set at 60,000 Euros.
Direct aid, such as subsidies, is a fundamental part of what allows farmers in France—and in the U.S. too—to survive.
The protesters heaved hay bales and drove tractors into the course while holding signs and yelling to bring attention to the issue. The protesters were sprayed with tear gas and forcibly arrested, while riders who had tear gas spray drift their way were medically treated.
Also, the Tour de France riders were fine.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Emily Deanne
Shower shoes? Check. Extra-long sheets? Yep. Energy efficiency checklist? No worries — we've got you covered there. If you're one of the nation's 12.1 million full-time undergraduate college students, you no doubt have a lot to keep in mind as you head off to school. If you're reading this, climate change is probably one of them, and with one-third of students choosing to live on campus, dorm life can have a big impact on the health of our planet. In fact, the annual energy use of one typical dormitory room can generate as much greenhouse gas pollution as the tailpipe emissions of a car driven more than 156,000 miles.
By Lorraine Chow
Kokia drynarioides is a small but significant flowering tree endemic to Hawaii's dry forests. Native Hawaiians used its large, scarlet flowers to make lei. Its sap was used as dye for ropes and nets. Its bark was used medicinally to treat thrush.
States that invest heavily in renewable energy will generate billions of dollars in health benefits in the next decade instead of spending billions to take care of people getting sick from air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels, according to a new study from MIT and reported on by The Verge.
Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could be gearing up for an eruption after a pond of water was discovered inside its summit crater for the first time in recorded history, according to the AP.
By Kristin Ohlson
From where I stand inside the South Dakota cornfield I was visiting with entomologist and former USDA scientist Jonathan Lundgren, all the human-inflicted traumas to Earth seem far away. It isn't just that the corn is as high as an elephant's eye — are people singing that song again? — but that the field burgeons and buzzes and chirps with all sorts of other life, too.
Humanity faced its hottest month in at least 140 years in July, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said on Thursday. The finding confirms similar analysis provided by its EU counterparts.
By Hans Nicholas Jong
Indonesia's president has made permanent a temporary moratorium on forest-clearing permits for plantations and logging.
It's a policy the government says has proven effective in curtailing deforestation, but whose apparent gains have been criticized by environmental activists as mere "propaganda."