The Environmental Council considering relevant issues of climate change and environmental protection2015-10-26
Today, on the 26th of October, Kęstutis Trečiokas, Minister of the Environment is attending a meeting of the Environmental Council of the European Union held in Luxembourg. The Environmental Council examines issues of review the EU emission trading system, withdrawal of environmentally harmful subsidies, and the Sustainable Development Agenda of the UN to 2030.
The Environmental Council is now concentrating on the review of the EU emission trading system, seeking to further reduce the quantities of greenhouse gas emissions and encourage investment in technologies relaying on low volumes of carbon dioxide. The discussion currently taking place seek to address the issue how the reforms currently on the table, coupled with the recently approved market stability mechanism should provide the right impetus to the EU emission trading system. The ministers are further discussing whether rules on distribution of the EU emission allowance free of charge currently on the table ensure adequate balance when reducing the risk of leakage of carbon dioxide, maintaining industry requiring large volumes of energy competitive and its transition to the economics of technologies based on low quantities of carbon dioxide. The ministers are examining funding mechanisms for low quantities of carbon dioxide proposed for modernisation of industry and energy sector, and the role of these mechanisms when implementing the EU climate targets to 2030.
According to Kęstutis Trečiokas, Minister of the Environment, Lithuania is essentially supportive of the reform of the trading system proposed and trusts that once renewed, the EU trading system will be more favourable to investment and ensure the EU industry remains competitive. The Minister went on to add that „the proceeds raised from the emission allowances should lead to a wider range of financial instruments for modernisation of facilities involved in the EU trading system. Transparency and availability of these financial instruments is of utmost importance.
The Environmental Council further considers issues on withdrawal of environmentally harmful subsidies, and a better implementation of the EU regulations. The documents brought before the council stresses that reliance on the environmentally harmful subsidies distorts the market, prevents investment in advanced technologies, sustainable use of resources, and accomplishment of targets of mitigation of climate change. Mr Trečiokas pointed out that a harmonised and clear EU stance concerning gradual withdrawal of the environmentally harmful subsidies currently extended by the EU would mark a breakthrough in this respect.
The ministers of the environment further discussed the priorities of the EU environmental policy when it comes to implementation of the Sustainable Development agenda of the UN adopted in September 2015 in New York; the agenda approved 17 targets of sustainable development, along with 169 smaller tasks. Mr Trečiokas, the Minister of the Environment is convinced it is of utmost importance to assess the progress made in accomplishment of objectives adequately; it is therefore necessary to establish a clear and reliable system of indicators allowing for an objective assessment of the progress.
The ministers of the environment, seeking to respond to the situation caused by falsification of car air pollution control systems, took this opportunity to stress the need to impose a more strict control on the systems in question and to amend the current EU regulations governing testing of passenger cars. Mr Trečiokas, the Minister of the Environment, used the discussions to point out unfair conduct on the part of the manufacturers can be called into question also in the light of other data they declare; such a conduct furthermore makes implementation of regulations governing air quality more complicated. The Minister added that the manufacturer, guilty of falsification in question, should be liable for damages caused through a breach of the consumer rights.