Minister Brabec discussed emission reductions and sustainable water management at the EU Environment Council in Luxembourg

Minister Brabec discussed emission reductions and sustainable water management at the EU Environment Council in Luxembourg

Minister Richard Brabec today discussed the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from sectors not included in the European emission trading system (EU ETS) at the meeting of the Council of the EU-28 environment ministers. Other topics of the meeting included biodiversity and sustainable water management.

The European Commission published a package of proposals for sectors outside the EU ETS in July this year. The package contains two legislative proposals – the Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) [1] and a regulation on LULUCF [2]. The Czech Republic considers both of these proposals, which are aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing carbon storage in soil and forests, a good basis for further constructive debate. "In my opinion, the proposal to share efforts in sectors outside the EU ETS is balanced. Even though we think it should appreciate more the efforts made to date by the Member States – that also include the Czech Republic, which had the possibility to increase their emissions by 2020, and yet they are already achieving a significant reduction compared to 2005," the Minister Richard Brabec said on the first of the proposed measures. In the draft regulation on the LULUCF, it is necessary from the perspective of the Czech Republic, according to him, to negotiate essential details on counting in the emissions and sinks from the category of cultivated forest land.

At the meeting, the environment ministers of the EU countries also approved the conclusions of the Council, which determine the position of the EU at the 13th meeting of the parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which will take place in December 2016 in Cancun, Mexico. According to the Czech Republic, the conclusions are balanced, they take into account the current position of the EU Member States on the specific agendas on biodiversity and at the same time they give the European Union a sufficient space for the upcoming international debate.

The ministers also supported conclusions on sustainable water management. The Minister Brabec welcomed the inclusion of this point on the Council agenda: "Water management is a very important topic for the Czech Republic at present with regard to the ongoing drought and its consequences. The Czech government and the MoE address this issue proactively both through legislative measures to combat the drought and with subsidies. For example, a few days ago we supported the implementation of two hundred important water projects for CZK 1 billion. They focus on protection against flood as well as drought, and on improving the retention and drainage conditions in the countryside [3]. In total, to combat drought and floods we will spend 7 billion Czech crowns from the Operational Programme Environment 2014-2020," said Minister Brabec. At the meeting of the ministers, the European Commission, inter alia, informed about the 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES [4], which took place on 24 September - 5 October 2016 in Johannesburg and where representatives of 152 states from around the world adopted a number of measures to improve the protection of endangered species [5].

The Commission also summarised the outputs of the 39th session of the ICAO Assembly [6] (Montreal, Canada, 27 September – 7 October, 2016), which adopted a system of market-based measures to reduce emissions in international air transport. The Czech Republic is convinced that the implementation of a market-based mechanism with a global scope is an effective way to regulate emissions in this area.

On 18 October 2016, the meeting of the Environment Council will be followed up with a meeting of environment ministers of the EU and of the Eastern Partnership countries. That will include the adoption of a declaration on cooperating in the field of the environment and climate change.

Notes:

[1] Proposal of the European Parliament and of the Council on mandatory annual greenhouse gas emission reduction by the Member States in the period 2021-2030.

[2] Proposal on the inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land-use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF).

[3] For more information see see this website.

[4] Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species – Convention on international trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora.

[5] For more information on the conference in South Africa see see this link.

[6] International Civil Aviation Organization

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