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Environment Ministers re-affirm commitment to further action against climate change

At today’s meeting of the EU Environment Council chaired by the Slovenian Minister for Environment and Spatial Planning, Mr Janez Podobnik, EU Ministers for the Environment re-affirmed their commitment to adopting the climate-energy legislation package in spring 2009. To this end, in Council conclusions which will be forwarded to the EU Heads of States and Government, the Ministers undertook to reach political agreement on the package at the level of the Council. This should enable the European Parliament to approve the package during its current term of office.

In assigning the obligations stemming from the climate-energy legislation package, the principle of solidarity and fairness between Member States will have to be guaranteed, and the effective implementation of the package will require political, social and economic measures. In the Council conclusions, the Ministers pinpointed the importance and interrelatedness of environmental policies, particularly in the area of biodiversity, environmental technologies, sustainable consumption and production, and the implementation of better regulation. The EU Member States differ widely in their potential and circumstances permitting the implementation of the climate-energy package.

“We EU Ministers have comprehensively re-affirmed our willingness to act according to the principles of integrity, transparency and solidarity. We shall take account of the need to ensure sustainable economic growth throughout the European Union,” Mr Podobnik summed up the main thrust of the discussion.

The European Union intends to retain its leading role in combating climate change into the future. To that end, the EU is developing a long-term plan for reducing CO2 emissions. In global terms, emissions will have to be reduced at least by half in comparison with 1990. The EU is planning to reduce its emissions by 60 to 80%.

The EU also, however, needs to maintain its role as a world leader in preserving and protecting biodiversity. In May this year, the EU will organise the 9th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, hosted by the city of Bonn, Germany. This meeting represents an important milestone in achieving the goals of preserving biodiversity and is the main global event in this area. The purpose of the meeting, which is of great importance to the EU, is to achieve very clear and unequivocal results which will halt or curb biodiversity loss by 2010. This conference also offers an opportunity to promote a European approach to nature conservation and to the importance of biodiversity for sustainable development. The Council adopted conclusions which will serve as the basis for negotiations at the Bonn conference.


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Date: 07.03.2008