The nature restoration law, A success for the European Union and for our planet
After long debates between the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), the law on the restoration of nature was adopted on Wednesday July 12, 2023, in Strasbourg.
The previous day, on Tuesday July 11, 2023, climate activist Greta Thunberg had attended a rally near the European Parliament, calling on members to pass this nature restoration law, which aims to restore declining ecosystems in Europe.
She had declared : “We demand that the MEPs do not reject this law, and vote for the strongest law possible. Anything else will be seen for exactly what it is, a betrayal both to those suffering the most from these crises, to future generations, but also to humanity.”
Consequently, the passing of this law is a real success for our planet and a key element of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to restore degraded ecosystems.
According to the European Parliament, the proposal for this law aims to restore ecosystems, habitats and species across the EU’s land and sea areas in order to
- « enable the long-term and sustained recovery of biodiverse and resilient nature
- contribute to achieving the EU’s climate mitigation and climate adaptation objectives
- meet international commitments »
But the passing of this law did not happen without some difficulties. Indeed, some conservative MEPs tried to have this proposal rejected because they refused to submit to overly restrictive objectives.
Fortunately, the text was finally adopted, even if the results were tight: 336 votes in favor of the law, 300 against, and 13 absentees.
In addition, this fierce opposition to the law was unnecessary, as explained by thousands of scientists. In an open letter, they declared that opponents of the law “not only lack scientific evidence, but even contradict it”. They proved through various studies that restoring nature would improve food security, help fisheries, create jobs and save money.
Still, even if the passing of this law is a success, the success isn’t fully realized. Indeed, the original text has been modified.
According to « The Guardian », Green groups criticized changes in the approved text that cut a proposal to restore agricultural ecosystems and added a line to delay implementation of the law until after a formal assessment of Europe’s food security.
Nevertheless, and astonishingly,« even the Greens are celebrating this weakened version of the nature restoration law as a victory.”.
But despite those gray areas, we must celebrate this victory for the environment and biodiversity. This text could, for example, force EU member countries to restore 20% of degraded land and marine areas before 2030, and all of them before 2050.
According to the EU website, this nature restoration law will help to :
- «preserve and increase biodiversity
- secure the things nature does, like cleaning our water and air or protecting us from floods
- limit global warming to 1.5°C
- build up Europe’s resilience and strategic autonomy, preventing natural disasters and reducing risks to food security »
This law therefore represents the hope that our governments will become more seriously involved in the protection of our planet and its ecosystem.