Farmers V. Climate — A False Narrative

Farmers are not against climate policy, they are demanding a living wage.

Gil Pires
The Environment


Photo by Christophe Dion on Unsplash.

The sound of blaring horns rages through the air as hundreds of tractors choke the streets of Brussels. Protesters clash with riot police, spraying them with liquid manure. The police fight back with water cannons. Pepper spray.

It is the 26th of February and farmers from all over Europe are protesting at the heart of the European Union (EU) — where EU Ministers of Agriculture are gathering to discuss the current crisis. Farmer-led protests have been going on for months and this is just their latest display of anger.

The recent wave of protests began as far back as November of 2023 in Poland, and has continued throughout the winter without losing momentum, spreading across many European countries.

Like most EU-wide movements, each protest was sparked by national-specific issues. In Poland, for example, a key issue is cheap Ukrainian grain imports. In Germany and France, though, protests specifically began in response to governments’ plans to phase out diesel subsidies and other tax breaks in the sector.

However, farmers all over the bloc are facing the same underlying issues, and this is what has kept flames burning — literally. Together they demand that…