EU environment ministers meet in Brussels to finalise the climate commitment to UN
On 17 December, the EU environment and climate ministers will meet in Brussels to finalise the EU’s climate commitment to the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Finland’s representative at the meeting will be Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Krista Mikkonen.
By the decision of the European Council made last week, the EU is committed to reducing its net emissions by 55 per cent by 2030 compared to 1990. According to the Paris Climate Change Agreement, the Parties must update their nationally determined contributions concerning the year 2030 during 2020.
The decision of the European Council to tighten the target for 2030 enables to reach a general approach also on the European climate law. Law will include a climate neutrality objective by 2050. A partial general approach on the European climate law was reached already at the Environment Council in October. Now the ministers will supplement the approach by an updated target for 2030.
“Finland aims for a strong European climate law that takes us effectively towards climate neutrality by 2050. This requires ambitious milestones that are in line with the target for 2050, not just for 2030 but also for 2040,” Minister Mikkonen says.
Stronger role to environmental organisations, conclusions on the circular economy to be approved
The meeting aims for a general approach on amending the Aarhus Regulation. The Aarhus Convention regulates the right of public access to information and participation and right to seek the review of decisions. The amendment would improve the opportunities of environmental organisations to influence the policies and decisions.
At the meeting the ministers will also approve conclusions on the circular economy and on digitalisation and the environment. In the conclusions on the circular economy, a key focus is on sustainable recovery and its funding in a way that supports the objectives of the European Green Deal. The conclusions stress the importance of a sustainable product policy and identify the role of the circular economy in boosting the competitiveness, innovation, employment and wellbeing and, thus, the resilience of the EU.
The conclusions on digitalisation show its dual role very well: on the one hand, digitalisation supports the achievement of emission reductions, climate change adaptation and monitoring of the state of the environment while, on the other, there are concerns related to the growing energy and material consumption in information and communication technology (ICT). Finland is currently preparing a national strategic programme on the circular economy and a climate and environmental strategy for the ICT sector.
In addition, the ministers will exchange views on a chemicals strategy that will promote sustainability. The aim of the chemicals strategy is to protect human health and the environment even better against hazardous chemicals. The strategy also aims to promote innovation related to safe and sustainable chemicals and to enable a transition to chemicals that have been designed as safe and sustainable. Finland considers it important that the strategy is sufficiently ambitious and comprehensive with its aim for better protection of human health and the environment, and that it will contribute to a more comprehensive transition towards sustainable production and consumption.
Special Adviser to the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change
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