Reading time: 2 minutes

Under the guise of environmentalism, a strange transformation is taking place. Farmers are no longer encouraged to farm crops, rear animals, or produce animal products. Instead, they have a new product to farm: carbon credits.

An unholy alliance of big finance and environmentally-minded NGOs and bureaucrats have identified farms as a source of a new, precious commodity: a license to emit carbon. The only problem is that in order to produce these credits, the farmers must cease agricultural production. The logic of this process is brutally simple, but potentially devastating for agriculture.

By letting land lie fallow, farmers make reductions to greenhouse gas emissions. To incentivize this behavior, farmers can claim a credit for land they leave unproductive. The credits can be purchased by industrial companies, who can then “offset” these against their own emissions.

This report illustrates the process through which big finance and big environmentalism have captured EU policymaking on farming. The smallest farms - ironically the ones with most to commend them in environmentalist terms - are the biggest casualties of this process.

Supporting farmers, especially small farmers, means resisting the imposition of carbon farming. 

About the author

Thomas Fazi
Author, researcher and journalist

Thomas Fazi is an independent researcher, writer and journalist based in Rome. He is the author of several books, including: The Battle for Europe: How an Elite Hijacked a Continent – and How We Can Take It Back (Pluto Press, 2014); Reclaiming the State: A Progressive Vision of Sovereignty for a Post-Neoliberal World (co-authored with Bill Mitchell; Pluto Press, 2017); and The Covid Consensus: The Global Assault on Democracy and the Poor—A Critique from the Left (co-authored with Toby Green; Hurst, 2023). He is a columnist for UnHerd and Compact.