19 Jun 2017
RESULTS ENVIRONMENT COUNCIL – 19 JUNEBrussels Daily
Main Results below – results in full here
The Council discussed in public session the latest developments in the field of international climate change. Environment ministers expressed their views on the unilateral decision of the US administration to withdraw from the Paris Agreement and welcomed unanimously the conclusions adopted on this matter at the Foreign Affairs Council the same day.
Ministers were united in reconfirming their steadfast commitment to the swift and full implementation of this global legally-binding agreement. The fight against climate change requires responsible global leadership and the EU and its member states are ready to assume that role. The European Council will also discuss this topic during the meeting scheduled this week on 22 and 23 June 2017.
The EU is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. This target was submitted in March 2015 as the intended nationally determined contribution of the EU and its member states to the Paris Agreement. To reach the target, the reduction will amount to 43% in sectors covered by the emissions trading scheme (ETS sectors) and 30% in non-ETS sectors, in both cases by 2030 compared to 2005. The EU is currently working to put the appropriate new legislation in place.
Non-ETS sectors: effort-sharing and LULUCF
The Council held a debate on the two legislative proposals to cut emissions in sectors not covered by the emissions trading scheme: the effort-sharing regulation and the regulation on land-use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF).
Ministers assessed progress so far and shared their views on the key outstanding issues of the proposals, focussing on the addition of a new safety reserve in the effort-sharing regulation and setting forest reference levels in the LULUCF regulation.
Delegations provided valuable political guidance on the way forward on these two aspects. On this basis, further work will continue in the Council with a view to agreeing a negotiating position before the end of the year.
“We have made significant progress during the Maltese presidency on the non-ETS files. I believe we are not so far from reaching an agreement, but we need some more efforts from member states. Now, more than ever, it is important to focus on the EU 2030 emissions reduction target. Delivering on our shared commitment is our joint responsibility. I am confident that a compromise can be reached during the Estonian presidency”.
Dr Jose A. Herrera, Minister for sustainable development, environment and climate change of Malta
Non-ETS sectors are part of the EU’s main tools to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to deliver on the EU’s commitments under the Paris Agreement.
EU action plan for nature, people and the economy
The Council adopted conclusions on the EU action plan for nature, people and the economy. The plan will improve the implementation of the nature directives so that they deliver their full potential.
Ministers expressed support for the EU action plan, which aims to address several identified implementation gaps through four priority areas and 15 concrete actions.
These conclusions signal the EU’s strong commitment to protecting species and natural habitats and to making progress towards the EU 2020 goal of halting and reversing the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services.