Lithuania voices its position on current environmental issues2016-06-20
Today, Minister Kęstutis Trečiokas will participate together with ministers of environment of other EU countries at the meeting of the EU Environmental Council to discuss climate change policy, air pollution reduction and other current environmental issues.
First of all, the review of the EU emissions trading system (ETS) and new requirements established for this system in 2020–2030 will be discussed. The countries have already agreed that free tradable emission permits (TEP) should be allocated to the economic sectors which pose the highest risk of carbon dioxide emissions and that it should be decided how the costs related to the price of carbon dioxide will be compensated for the industry with high energy consumption levels, for example, the Lithuanian chemical industry.
Minister Kęstutis Trečiokas will voice the position of our country. Although Lithuania agrees that the compensation of costs of the industries with high energy consumption levels should be harmonised; however, it upholds the position that the states should be able to decide how these costs should be covered from revenue received from the TEP sold at auctions.
Another theme to be discussed in today’s meeting is how to reduce pollutant emissions by 2030. According to Kęstutis Trečiokas, specific reduction obligations must be ambitious but feasible. Therefore, Lithuania accepts only the targets that have been already agreed on by the countries but not higher ones, namely: by 2030, to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions by 60 per cent, nitrogen oxide emissions – by 51 per cent, emissions of non-methane volatile organic compounds – by 47 per cent, ammonia emissions – by 10 per cent, and heavy particle emissions – by 35 per cent. To achieve these targets, a lot of efforts and funds are needed; therefore, there are simply no possibilities to raise the bar.
In Luxembourg, Lithuania will voice its approval of the drafted conclusions of the meeting regarding an action plan for the circular economy. These conclusions reflect all the elements of the circular economy, i. e. from product design, production processes, consumption stage, waste and waste management and the secondary raw materials market to innovation, investment and creation of new jobs. It is particularly important for our country that waste recycling would be economically justified and safe to the environment and human health, and secondary raw materials would be of a good quality and suitable for further use.
Lithuania will also approve the conclusions agreed on in the working group of the Council regarding the fight against illegal trade in wild plants and animals. All EU countries, EUROPOL and other institutions are encouraged to get involved into the fight against these very profitable criminal activities.
Furthermore, our country intends to approve the statement by the EU Ministers of Environment encouraging the EU Member States to ratify the universal agreement on climate change signed in Paris in December last year. However, according to Minister Kęstutis Trečiokas, it is important for Lithuania that the EU legal acts providing for future obligations would be provided before the launch of the national ratification process. This would allow us to evaluate whether we are able to implement the set requirements in a timely manner.
20 June 2016