EU lawmakers this week adopted new laws boosting Europe’s climate change fight, but a parallel drive to protect biodiversity in bills to be finalised before the end of next year looks to be on shakier ground. Negotiations between the European Commission, EU member states and the European Parliament on the issue have run into difficulty over the details. Scandinavian countries are worried about their important forestry sector, while other member states believe the scope of the text proposed by the commission goes too far. Still others are concerned about the impact on farmers, or how to reconcile the text with EU policies on agriculture and energy. EU environment commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius admitted on Tuesday, at a meeting of EU environment ministers in Sweden, that “we have a very busy time again in front of us” and “time is really limited”. The commission’s proposed text aims to restore degraded or polluted biosystems such as forests and marine zones. It also sets a target of drastically reducing the use of pesticides in crops, improved animal welfare, and limits on polluting emissions including by livestock producers, which some member states worry will lead to a decline in their agricultural output. Other texts being examined relate to changes to packaging, air quality and waste water. ‘Extremely challenging’ timeframe Adam Guibourge-Czetwertynski, a Polish junior climate minister, said that, given the varying centres of concern in the EU, there was need “to make this proposition realistic in practice”. Austria’s environment minister, Leonore Gewessler, underlined the “extremely challenging” timeframe and urged giving enough space for the negotiations to result in “a coherent policy mix”. During a late March parliamentary debate on the texts, one left-leaning Spanish MEP, Cesar Luena, said: “Things are not looking very good.” “The green consensus that was there at the beginning of our term has gradually been eroded. It’s fading away,” he said, pointing to remonstrations from farming and fishing lobbies. Some related topics — such as propositions on genetically modified crops and soil protection — are not even part of the talks and will be presented by the commission in June. Presentation of a tricky text on a tighter framework for the use of chemical substances which had been expected early last year has now been pushed back to late 2023. While haggling continues over the biodiversity texts, the EU can at least bask in the glow of having the parliament on Tuesday adopting laws on expanding the bloc’s carbon trading market and introducing a carbon border tax on imports. Those measures bolster Europe’s bid to cut greenhouse gas emissions as it moves towards the goal of a net carbon-neutral future. The 27 EU countries are collectively the third-biggest global emitter of carbon dioxide. The biggest by far is China, which is greatly expanding its fleet of coal-fired power plants despite a vow to have carbon emissions peak by 2030 then reduced to net zero by 2060. Then comes the United States, historically the biggest carbon-gas emitter, which has a long-term strategy of reaching net zero by 2050.