POSITION PAPER FOR ENVIRONMENTAL GOVERNANCE
The European Union (EU) is an economic and political union of 27 member states which are primarily based in Europe. The EU operates through a system of independent institutions and intergovernmental negotiated decisions by the member states. EU institutions include the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, the Court of Justice of the EU and the European Parliament (Pinder, 2008). The EU governs in a unique way, hence the ability to maintain a leading position in international negotiations. The EU holds great economic might (McCornmick, 2007). A number of countries along the margin of the EU such as Turkey now seek to join the EU (Pinder, 2008). This position paper focuses on ten specific environmental themes and includes the stance, policies and recommendations of the EU. Climate mitigation
The European Union (EU) is said to be leading in the international struggle that governs climate change. A whole range of agreements have been discussed and signed by all of the EU’s state members. The EU’s climate change policy is based on a 20-20-20 package. By the year 2020 the EU aims to receive 20% of its energy from renewable sources, emissions should be reduced by at least 20% and energy consumption should also be reduced by 20%. If more industrial sectors agree with this policy, then emissions could possibly be reduced by 30%. All of the EU’s member states have now set targets to reduce emissions by the year 2020. The EU accounts for about 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Since the EU consists of twenty-seven (27) member states it covers a large geographical area, thus making a huge contribution to the reduction of world emissions (Jordan, 2010). According to EEA (European Environmental Agency) the EU should have an “Effort Sharing Decision” to reduce emissions from all sectors. I agree with this decision as climate mitigation cannot be achieved if the various sectors and countries work independently. I would recommend that the EU’s Emission Trading System (ETS) should be revised, thus ensuring annual reduction up to and beyond 2020. A framework should be developed to promote the sustainable use of carbon capture and storage. The EU has made great improvements on their climate change policies, but they lack implementation as well as enforcement powers (EEA). Climate adaptation
Adaptation requires preparation from now for changes in weather patterns to be seen in the future. Adaptation was not discussed much within the EU as many governors assumed it would undermine strong mitigation policies (Rayner, 2010). One of the most important messages of the IPCC’s (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) third assessment report was that climate change cannot be prevented completely. Currently the EU has produced various action plans in relation to adaptation which does not only cover the EU, but also surrounding areas such as North Africa. However, each of the EU member states addresses climate adaptation with different levels of importance. The ECCP (European Climate Change Programme) has identified four key points in terms of EU action. Firstly, adaptive strategies should be incorporated in existing policies. Secondly, the EU’s adaptation policies should be combined with non-EU states. Thirdly, climate adaptation should be considered during policy making and lastly, the European society should be allowed to participate in the planning of future adaptive strategies. As an environmentalist, I think the four points identified by the ECCP should form the basis for discussions. However, I recommend a stronger approach or framework for adaptive strategies should be established in order to reduce cross-border vulnerabilities. Ensuring stronger implementation and enforcement of policies could possibly lead to the development of ‘green infrastructure’ (Rayner, 2010). Green economic growth
A widely accepted definition of ‘green economy’ is one...
References: European Commission, 2012: 2012 Blueprint to safeguard Europe’s water resources.
European Commission, 1999: EU focus on clean air, Directorate General, Environment, Nuclear safety and Civil protection.
European Commission, 2013: Legislation: the Marine Directive, Environment.
European Commission, 2012: Sustainable agriculture for the future we want, European Union.
EU Task force on Land Tenure, 2004: EU Land Policy Guidelines, Guidelines for support to land policy design and land policy reform processes in developing countries.
Jordan, A., Huitema, D., Van Assely, H., Rayner, T. And Berkhout, F., 2010: Climate Change Policy in the European Union: Confronting the Dilemmas of Mitigation and Adaptation?, Cambridge University Press.
McCormick, J. 2007: The European Union: Politics and Policies, Westview Press.
Pinder, J. and Usherwood, S., 2008: The European Union: A very short introduction.
Rayner, T. And Jordan, A., 2010: Adaptation to climate change: An Emerging EU Policy, University of East Anglia.
Risso, S. 2013: Global deforestation-Europe faces up to its dirty secret, Greenpeace EU forests policy director.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document