EU ministers were very clear on Monday (20 June) to stress that the block and its Member States remain committed to the ratification of the Paris agreement, an deal within the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that deals with greenhouse gases emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in 2020. The ministers, who attended a meeting in Luxembourg, also reiterated their commitment to working towards an effective implementation of the deal as soon as possible.
At the meeting, EU leaders adopted a statement on the ratification of the global legally-binding agreement on climate change that was negotiated in December last year by the representatives of 195 countries at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC. The deal will enter into force after ratification by 55 countries, representing at least 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
The Environment Council also held a policy debate on the review of the emissions trading system (ETS) that is one of EU’s main tools to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change. Moreover, the ministers took stock of their earlier discussions on new rules and limits for air pollutants, the so-called NEC directive, and adopted an action plan for a circular economy that aims to reduce waste and keep the value of products, materials and resources in the economy for as long as possible.
The conclusions drawn further reinforce the commitment to the transition towards a more sustainable model with an emphasis on recycling, better waste management and a smaller resource base. On top of this agenda, ministers also supported an EU action plan against wildlife trafficking. Their statement expressed concerns about the increase in this illegal activity and its impact on biodiversity and sustainable development.