News

EU Ministers lumber forward on biodiversity and blocked on climate

PRESS RELEASE

[21st June, Luxembourg] - The EEB is deeply concerned by the lack of appetite shown by some member states today to endorse the EU Biodiversity Strategy and its targets. As a consequence, the possibility of curbing biodiversity loss is left hanging by a thread. EU ministers also failed to endorse the Commission's low carbon roadmap.

At today's Environment Council meeting, ministers did finally adopt conclusions on the strategy and its targets, including those on fisheries and agriculture, sending a clear message that biodiversity needs to be further integrated into other policy areas.

However the EEB says it is a worrying sign that some member states seem to lack any serious commitment to tackle Europe’s critical biodiversity decline and are merely paying lip service to the issue. [1]

“Instead of raising the bar on biodiversity protection we are left with a weak and diluted compromise. If they really believe, as they say, that this is an urgent issue then they must act decisively at the earliest opportunity,” said Jeremy Wates, EEB Secretary General.

In early 2010 member states agreed to halt the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services by 2020. The newly published Biodiversity Strategy is the main tool to make this political commitment a reality.

EEB previously critcised the lack of ambition in the strategy and is now stunned to see that some member states were not even prepared to sign up to this minimum level of action. EEB believes these requirements represented a bare minimum and more commitment would be needed.

EEB hopes that the discussion on the strategy will be continued under the next EU Polish Presidency in a more constructive way and that member states will use the opportunity to make up for today’s poor performance.

Carbon roadmap blocked

Much of the same could be said for the move towards a low carbon economy, says EEB. Ministers failed to endorse the Commission’s low carbon roadmap after long discussions, apparently due to Poland blocking any endorsement. It has been said that Poland and other member states had concerns over moving to a 25% reduction target.

“This is a major blow to moving towards the 30% reduction target. This doesn’t bode well for the future considering Poland is about to take over the EU Presidency for the next six months,” said Wates.

Sections of industry, representing millions of jobs, are also calling for the EU to adopt a 30% emissions reduction target [2]. Commission President Barroso last week called for ‘the need to put bold policy action’ in place in the face of compelling climate science.

Contact

Sarolta Tripolszky, Biodiversity Policy Officer, +32 (0) 2289 10 93, sarolta.tripolszky@eeb.org

Catherine Pearce, Climate Senior Policy Officer, +32 2 289 13 02, catherine.pearce@eeb.org

[1] Italy, Denmark and Bulgaria only agreed to sign up to the Conclusions under the provision that they would issue further statements.

[2] http://www.theclimategroup.org/_assets/files/business_declaration__june_15_2011.pdf

For more info, please contact:

Alison ABRAHAMS

Communications Officer

Tel: +32 (0) 2289 13 09