“In the spring of 2017, a European Union working group of environmentalists, academics and lobbyists was having a technical discussion on green farming practices when a map appeared on an overhead screen. In an instant, the room froze.
A farm lobbyist objected. Officials murmured their disapproval.
The map juxtaposed pollution in northern Italy with the European Union subsidies paid to farmers in the region. The overlap was undeniable and invited a fundamental question: Is the European Union financing the very environmental problems it is trying to solve?
The map was expunged from the group’s final reports, those in attendance say. But using the European Union’s own economic models, The New York Times created an approximation that confirms what European officials did not want seen: The most heavily subsidized areas had the worst pollution.”
Overlapping E.U. subsidies with Italy’s nitrate pollution
E.U. farm subsidies Nitrate pollution
More subsidies Higher pollution
“HILLION, FRANCE — Pierre Philippe’s fight began when people and animals started dying on the beaches of northwestern France.
A man’s body was pulled from a pile of green slime. A rider was discovered unconscious beside his dead horse. A beach worker slipped into a coma, and a jogger fatally collapsed.
The reason seemed obvious to Dr. Philippe, an emergency room doctor. Every summer, algae coats the Brittany beaches with bright green slime. As it decomposes, it gives off hydrogen sulfide, a toxic gas that can kill in seconds.
Dr. Philippe tried for years to persuade government health officials to acknowledge the threat, or even discuss it. They refused. “If they recognize the problem, they also indirectly admit responsibility,” he said. “And they know that.”
That’s because talking about the algae meant talking about farming.”