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EU commitment to COP21 agreement at risk following vote in ITRE Committee

31/05/2017

The European Union's commitment to the COP21 agreement on climate change has been put at risk as a result of a vote in the European Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) yesterday.

EU commitment to COP21 agreement at risk following vote in ITRE Committee

The ITRE Commitee voted on a legislative opinion yesterday presented by Rapporteur Marisa Matias on a report by the Parliament's Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee which intends to adapt the Paris Summit Agreement on Climate Change into European law.
 
The report titled 'Inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land use, land use change and forestry into the 2030 climate and energy framework and amending Regulation No 525/2013 of the European Parliament and the Council on a mechanism for monitoring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions and other information relevant to climate change' is also referred to by the acronym LULUCF.
 
During the preparatory meetings of the opinion, the Members split between environmentalists and those from the southern European countries on one side, and the Nordic defenders of the large forestry industry and agribusiness on the other side. This divergence resulted in the submission of alternative amendments on the emissions accounting mechanisms outlined in the report.

The opinion adopted by the ITRE Committee yesterday included the amendments endorsed by the lobbies of Finland, Sweden, the major forestry producers and agribusiness, with the support of the EPP, ALDE and some members from S&D.

A further amendment adopted today – and consequently the final wording of the opinion – puts some of the previously adopted European legislation at risk, in particular that relating to the Effort Sharing Decision, which sets the binding annual targets for greenhouse gas emissions for member states during the period 2013 to 2020.

As a result of the amendments adopted, Marisa Matias ended up voting against the opinion.
 
The Portuguese MEP comments: "We cannot criticise the Paris Summit Agreement for falling short of the world's needs and then just cut our ties with it. Likewise, we cannot criticise Trump and his energy and industrial policy while also bowing to the pressure of the big forestry industry in Finland."
 
"Until now, combating climate change has been a serious issue within the EU. What we are witnessing here today is a 'Trumpisation' of European policies. I'm now left waiting for the moment when the EU will also say that climate change is a fabrication!
 
"I hope that the ENVI Committee, which will have the final say on this issue before the vote in plenary, will be less susceptible to industry lobbies than the ITRE Committee has been."
 
Matias' original opinion and subsequent amendments were strongly supported by numerous environmental NGOs, as outlined in this short video.

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