Paying Welsh Farmers to Stop Climate Change? European Bison Off Endangered Species List, FDIC Calls for US Climate Change Collaboration, Macron Wants French Constitution to Protect Climate

by | Feb 25, 2021 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

The government of Wales pitches radical new concept to its farmers: paying them to help stop climate change, plus European Bison are no longer on the “endangered species list.” Who knew Europe had bison? America’s Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) calls for domestic and international fiscal collaboration to help combat climate change. And French president Macron asks parliament to amend French Constitution to include fighting climate change.



A “radical” new approach to agriculture in Wales has been set out by the Welsh Government as it plans to pay farmers to help fight climate change. It will be the biggest shake up of farming policy in Wales in a generation as subsidies based on how much land a farmer owns will be phased out. With exact details of how the new payments will be calculated and delivered still being developed, the hope is to phase in the new plan beginning in 2024.

The government’s white paper also includes proposals to develop a set of national minimum standards for agriculture as well as a new enforcement regime. Farming unions say they need more details and it is important the changes are not rushed through. The government said it would help the sector be “more competitive”. Wales’ Environment Minister Lesley Griffiths said the current payments farms receive under the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) had not adequately supported efforts to protect and enhance the Welsh countryside.

A new Sustainable Farming Scheme will place a “proper value on environmental outcomes” – including improved soils, clean air and water, enhanced biodiversity and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. In the new proposals, there will also be support for creating and maintaining woodland, and better management of animal health and welfare. “We know the climate emergency isn’t something that’s coming down the track, we are living in it,” Ms Griffiths said. “We need our farmers to be part of mitigating climate change and they are not being rewarded for that in the way they should be at the moment.”

Farmers look after 80% of Wales’ land area – about 5.5 million acres – so the proposals matter hugely for both nature and the rural economy. Ms Griffiths said she wanted farmers to see the changes as “an opportunity rather than an approach that restricts their “freedom to farm”.




The International Union for the Conservation of Nature, IUCN, revised the organization’s annual red list of threatened species and announced European bison, Europe’s largest land mammal, are no longer a vulnerable species.  

IUCN is an international organization involved in data gathering focused on nature conservation and sustainable development of natural resources. The organization attributes the European Bison’s recovery to continued conservation efforts. In the announcement, the IUCN Director General said the Red List update demonstrates “the power of conservation.” The European bison are one of 26 other species to have moved towards recovery on the list.

However, not all of the news in the announcement was positive. The update also declared 31 species extinct and announced all of the world’s freshwater dolphin species are threatened. Of the roughly 128,000 species on the Red List, roughly 35,000 are threatened with extinction.

DEEPER DIVE: International Union for the Conservation of Nature   



Federal financial regulators from THE Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation recently  called for cooperation between domestic and international overseers to address climate change.

Speaking together in a webinar hosted by the Center for American Progress, a liberal Washington think tank, the regulators agreed climate change has the potential threat be a systemic risk while extreme events could lead to a rapid repricing of assets that could ripple through the financial system. Despite the severity of the threats and the urgent need to fill data gaps on the dangers, they warned federal financial agencies are behind the curve compared to counterparts around the globe.

“We have a lot of ground to make up. We, as financial regulators, have a compelling obligation to address climate change. Climate change presents a fundamental threat to the long-term stability of the financial system, asserted Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Director Martin Gruenberg. Gruenberg said the Financial Stability Oversight Council, established by the Dodd-Frank Act in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, has a critical contribution to make. He emphasized going forward, financial regulators need to be proactive on climate change.

To help the Federal Reserve identify climate risks, the financial regulator has hired a number of climate science experts while staffers at the agency are consulting with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

DEEPER DIVE: Forbes, Yahoo! Money 


French President Emmanuel Macron announced a referendum to add commitments to combat climate change into the French constitution. Reported by Reuters, President Macron said he was in favor of pledging commitments to biodiversity, the environment and climate change in Article 1 of the French Constitution – all of which requires a parliamentary vote.

Leading up to the announcement, President Macron has received criticism for the leader’s lack of action to address the climate crisis. As of 2020, France has missed national goals set under the 2015 Paris Agreement and delayed environmental conservation efforts.

President Macron detailed the commitments during a Citizens’ Climate Council meeting and acknowledged that France has not taken enough action in the fight against climate change. Alongside other European Union leaders, France has agreed to strengthen the continent’s 2030 targets in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.