1.1. Bonn climate talks hold up hope of turning trust into traction in Mexico
11 June 2010, WWF
WWF says negotiators at UN climate talks in Bonn have missed some important goals, while showing a much stronger performance than in previous rounds.
“In order to win the low carbon world cup we’ll have to score a number of important goals in the very near future, such as reaching an agreement on adaptation to climate impacts and on ways to stop deforestation”, said Kathrin Gutmann, Head of Climate Policy, WWF Global Climate Initiative.
“Bonn made good progress on some of these crucial building blocks that will be essential parts of a future regime to tackle climate change, and there is really no reason for negotiators to go into extra-time instead of concluding them at the Climate Summit in Mexico this December.”
In WWF’s view, progress in Bonn was mainly a result of improved team spirit among negotiators, with countries from North and South teaming up in unusual coalitions, creating fresh dynamics and space for solutions and compromise.
However, Bonn did not see any major victories on challenging issues like funding and policies to wean economies off fossil fuels and make them fit for the low carbon future, mainly due to a lack of progressive champions and blocking tactics by oil-exporting countries like Saudi Arabia.
“The performance of a whole range of key players in the negotiations didn’t really match the rapid shifts in investment or public opinion in favour of clean technology solutions that have recently occurred at the domestic level”, said Gutmann.
“While the UN climate talks still tend to discuss climate action as a burden, more and more people in more and more countries see it as a benefit, and taking on this view is what will allow negotiators to be successful in solving the big challenges.”
New negotiating text emerging from the Bonn talks on the last day could put delegates attending the next two rounds of negotiations before Mexico – one in August and one in October – in a good position to turn trust into traction in Mexico.
“Bonn reminded parties that negotiating in good faith is the best choice, and on this basis Mexico can be the moment where they agree on a significant package of actions and solutions, so that striking a new climate deal in South Africa the following year becomes a realistic goal”, said Gutmann.
“While the football teams of Mexico and South Africa are playing today’s opening match of the football world cup 2010, their governments are key players for success in the low carbon world cup 2011, where it’s not about the victory of one nation, but about a safe future for the entire planet.”
The results of a WWF poll among delegates, observers and journalists at the Bonn talks revealed that a majority of people following the negotiations shares this view. As part of the WWF Climate Deal Oracle, they were asked when we should and when we will get a global climate deal.
54.7% of the 265 participants thought we should get a deal by Mexico this December. However, 53.6% acknowledged that – realistically – we’d get this deal only in South Africa a year later. Opinions among delegates hardly differed from those expressed by observers and journalists.

1.2. European environment ministers at a crossroads on climate and GM crops
10 June 2010, Greenpeace
European environment ministers will meet in Luxembourg this Thursday 11 June. Greenpeace will closely follow discussions on two agenda points in particular.

– The adoption of Council conclusions on a recent assessment by the European Commission on the implications for the EU of increasing its target to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
– Discussions on a long-standing request by EU member states to the Commission to properly implement requirements on genetically modified (GM) crops.
The European Commission found in its assessment that the cost of implementing the EU’s existing climate and energy targets are significantly lower than predicted in 2008. The Commission also said that increasing the EU’s greenhouse gas emission reduction target from 20% to 30% would produce €40 billion annual savings in gas and oil imports and create hundreds of thousands of jobs.
An upgrade to a 30% target could even help EU member states tackle their budget deficits. Moving to a 30% target would provide EU countries with total additional income of about €70 billion, according to Greenpeace calculations. This would be generated by higher auctioning revenues from the EU’s emissions trading system. These funds could help mend Europe’s broken public finances while making the economy more efficient, more competitive and more resilient to fluctuating energy prices.
EU leaders meeting next week on 17-18 June are also expected to discuss the Commission findings, while Environment ministers are this week likely to ask the Commission to develop an analysis of the costs and benefits of higher climate targets for individual EU member states. The issue is expected to be back on the agenda of EU summits taking place after the summer.
Greenpeace EU climate policy director Joris den Blanken said: “The EU is starting to fall behind China and the US in the race towards renewables and energy efficiency. A higher climate target would generate billions in auctioning revenues from Europe’s carbon market. A 30% target would spur green development and even help governments put their finances in order.”
In December 2008, EU member states unanimously called on the Commission and its food safety authority (EFSA) to improve the assessment of the risks associated with GM crops, such as long-term environmental impacts, effects of herbicide use related to GMOs and economic impacts on farmers. EU countries argued that requirements under EU law are not being properly implemented, but the Commission has so far failed to act.
Instead, it recently authorised the first GM crop for cultivation in Europe in 12 years: a controversial antibiotic-resistant GM potato. In an attempt to deflect some of the criticism that ensued, the Commission is expected to put forward a new plan next month that would give EU countries and regions the right to ban GM crops on their territory. But this proposal does nothing to answer the concerns of member states on the scientific assessment of the risks of GM crops.
Greenpeace EU agriculture policy adviser Stefanie Hundsdorfer said: “The right for European countries and regions to ban GM crops should not come at the expense of proper scientific assessment at EU level. No country exists in isolation, as a recent case of GM contamination in Germany has proved. Whether it likes it or not, the Commission has a duty to properly verify the risks of GM crops on our health and the environment. Until this is done, no GM crop should be allowed in Europe.”

1.3. De Boer passes on UN climate negotiation baton
10 June 2010, EurActiv
As the latest round of talks draw to a close, outgoing UN climate chief Yvo de Boer warned of slow progress in the negotiations, leaving his successor with the daunting task of concluding a new global climate treaty in 2011. EurActiv reports from Bonn.
UN climate talks will end in Bonn on Friday (11 June) with little achievements made, leaving only two weeks of official negotiating time before the December high-level conference in Cancún, Mexico.
Negotiators from the 194 nations represented in Bonn have spent the last two weeks trying to build bridges between rich and poor nations on how to tackle climate change.
The general mood has been described as more constructive than during the previous round in April, where the blame-game after the failure of the 2009 Copenhagen conference was working at full pace.
But difficult issues such as climate finance for poor countries and mid-term emissions reduction targets for rich nations have remained impossible to crack.
De Boer: Aim is to reach agreement in 2011
Yvo de Boer, who was bidding farewell to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) after four years spent as secretary-general, called for a greater sense of urgency in the negotiations.
"We got the yellow card in Copenhagen and the referee’s hand will edge towards the red one if we fail to deliver in Cancún and beyond," he warned.
De Boer admitted that deciding how rich nations should contribute to a common goal of reducing emissions by 80% by mid-century will require more than one round of negotiations.
But he emphasised that determined action cannot be postponed much longer. "As things stand, we will not be able to halt the increase in global greenhouse gases in the next ten years. The two degree world is in danger, and as a result the door to a 1.5 degree world is rapidly closing," he said.
The Dutchman confirmed that an agreement over a new international climate treaty at the end of the year was unlikely. But he said the December Cancún talks could provide a "fully functional architecture" in several areas: adaptation, mitigation, technology, finance, capacity building and reducing emissions from deforestation (REDD).
The aim, he added, was to reach agreement on a new treaty at the December 2011 talks in South Africa.
The outgoing UNFCCC chief stressed the importance of building milestones on the way towards a new treaty. He added that the possibility of a "broad review" in 2015 of progress made towards the targets has been on the table in Bonn.
New UNFCCC chief: Nations have ‘no choice’
De Boer said he felt the time was right to step down because Copenhagen had been a politically "significant" moment despite failing to deliver a new treaty. "This is not a job you can do for very long with enthusiasm and energy," he told journalists.
Christiana Figueres, a Costa Rican diplomat who will replace de Boer in July, yesterday told journalists that nations have "no choice" but to meet the challenge.
But she stressed that emphasis on achieving a binding climate treaty with set emissions reductions goals should not be the main focus, as scientific advances will set new targets.
Instead, the Cancún summit should focus on delivering emissions cuts and finance for developing countries to adapt to climate change, Figueres explained.

1.4. Reasons to be cheerful about climate change talks
11 June 2010,
The United Nations meeting on climate change in Copenhagen at the end of last year ended in recriminations and chaos.
The high profile meeting was billed as the last opportunity to save the world from global warming and when it collapsed commentators declared that the whole UN process was dead.
But while the sceptics continue to pick over the bones of Copenhagen, the officials behind the scenes have been getting on with the process and it looks like eventually they are making progress. Yvo de Boer, the outgoing head of the UN body in charge of the negotiations, said the world was a long way from the cuts needed to prevent catastrophic warming. Scientists have advised that the world should reduce greenhouse gases by 50 per cent by 2050 to keep temperature rise below 2C (3.6F). It is widely accepted that rich countries will take the majority of cuts so poorer nations can continue to develop.
But he said there had been progress and hoped that a global agreement that commits rich countries to binding cuts in emissions, while also ensuring poor countries take action could be signed off at the end of 2011.
Here is a list of where the main progress has been made:
Talks are more transparent
In Copenhagen the developing world accused the rich nations of repeatedly trying to push them out of process. However Mr de Boer’s replacement Christiana Figueres is from Costa Rica so is more trusted by the developing countries. She has also promised to make the UN talks a more transparent process.
Money is on the table
In Copenhagen it was agreed to set up a green fund to help poorer nations deal with the floods and droughts caused by climate change. ‘Quick start’ funding of $10 billion between now and 2013 has already started flowing. By 2020 richer nations will provide $100 billion per annum. The world is still a long way from deciding where this money will come from, though it is likely to be from a combination of public funding, taxes on carbon intensive activities like aviation and loans. However the delicate question of how the green fund will be managed, whether as part of the World Bank or UN, is making steady progress.
Forests will be protected
A mechanism to stop deforestation called Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation or REDD is making progress. All countries have agreed in principle that nations should be paid not to chop down trees. Now they just need to agree the best way to fund rainforest nations and ensure deforestation is not happening.
Emission cuts could be increased
While Mr de Boer and others admit that there is a ‘gigatonne gap’ in the carbon reductions pledged by countries so far and what is needed to stop climate change, there is new hope that many countries will increase targets. The EU could move to 30 per cent emissions cuts by 2020. Also the UN has commissioned two papers on what has been promised so far that will enable fair comparisons between different countries for the first time. This could force countries that are not pulling their weight to act.
China and the US could make friends at last
The main sticking point at Copenhagen was a stand off between the US and China. The US refuses to be part of any global agreement until developing nations like China also agree to cut emissions. However China will not sign up to anything that limits economic growth and insist the US makes deep cuts first. It seemed the two superpowers could stop the world reaching agreement but both sides are softening their stance. The US public is likely to look a lot more favourably on green policies following the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, allowing the Senate to pass new legislation that cuts carbon emissions by 17 per cent on 2005 levels. Even if this fails the action of individual states or the Environmental Protection Agency could guarantee cuts. At the same time China has signalled its willingness to take action by to look at how its own carbon cuts will be measured in future and agreeing to host the next round of talks in China.

2.1. EU debt crisis boosts chance of energy tax overhaul
1 June 2010, Reuters
The greenest fuels would become the cheapest under plans for a pan-European energy tax which would also help governments tackle huge debts without raising taxes on workers, draft documents show.
The European Union’s executive wants to overhaul Europe’s 240 billion euro ($294 billion) annual taxation of energy, which varies widely between countries and often creates paradoxical incentives that encourage the biggest polluters.
“Standard taxation rules discriminate against renewable energies,” said an EU briefing document seen by Reuters.
European countries have traditionally put up stiff resistance to interference from Brussels on tax matters.
But a window of opportunity has emerged for a tax overhaul because it could help governments such as Italy, Greece and Spain to cut deficits urgently and reduce public debts without raising unpopular income tax.
Trade unions are planning strikes and rallies across southern Europe this month to oppose deficit-cutting austerity plans as countries try to avoid suffering a debt crisis similar to the one facing Greece.
“The global financial and economic crisis has left deep strains on the public finances of most countries,” said the draft document. “This … should play an important role in offering member states a basis … to shift the tax burden away from labour or capital.”
Diplomats say the proposal’s chances of adoption are better now than ever before.
If approved by EU leaders, the new rules would be phased in between 2013 and 2018, laying down minimum rates of taxation for everything from coal, to heating oil to biodiesel.
Farmers might be granted exemptions, although discussions continue within the European Commission, which initiates EU law.
Commission tax spokeswoman Emer Traynor said she could not comment on the draft document, but reiterated the philosophy behind the plans.
“The objective is not to raise taxes — it is to restructure them in a way that consumers can understand and manage,” she said. “Consumers would be able to reduce the amount of tax they pay by changing their behaviour and being more energy efficient.”
Protections are being crafted in the policy for heavy industries, such as steel and chemicals, that face tough competition from their overseas rivals that enjoy lower costs because they can pollute for free.
Measures are also being drafted to help poor households, which usually pay a relatively high share of their income for heating.
The tax would have two components. The first is an energy tax based on fuels’ energy content rather than their volume as now. The second is a carbon tax, which is being discussed in the range of 4 to 30 euros per tonne of carbon dioxide.
Carbon taxation is already used by Denmark, Sweden and Ireland, and Britain, Germany and the Netherlands have various eco-taxes. But the idea met resistance from farmers, fishermen and hauliers when French President Nicolas Sarkozy tried to push the idea through last year.
A diplomatic source said France supported the proposal, but Germany was expected to have problems with it.
EU sources say farmers might well win exemptions from the energy taxation, but they are less likely to avoid the carbon element as agriculture is such a key emitter. The EU’s various commissioners will debate the plan on June 23.
Over the next decade, the European Union plans to cut by a fifth its emissions of carbon dioxide, the gas most blamed for climate change. The main tool for doing that is its carbon market, the EU Emmissions Trading Scheme, which forces polluters to buy a permit for each tonne of carbon they emit.
But about half of the EU’s polluters have not been tackled by the scheme, such as transport, which creates 23 percent of all EU emissions, and households which are responsible for 10 percent.
A carbon tax could solve that imbalance and at the same time make a 4 percent contribution to the EU’s climate change goals, the draft says.
Those climate goals are undermined by a system which makes the lowest tax demands on the biggest source of pollution, coal, and puts the highest tax on one of the greenest, bioethanol.
Bioethanol is taxed at a rate of 17 euros per gigajoule, 50 percent higher than normal gasoline and more than twice as much as normal diesel, the draft shows.
But under the new scheme, biofuels — which in theory can absorb almost as much carbon when they are grown as is released when they are burned — would enjoy a significant tax cut.

2.2. New EU biofuel sustainability rules ‘missing the point’ say green groups
10 June 2010, T&E
The European Commission’s communication on biofuel sustainability (1), published today, will do precious little to address the impacts on land and emissions from crop-derived fuels used in transport, according to BirdLife International, ClientEarth, the European Environmental Bureau and Transport & Environment. The four environmental groups remain deeply concerned about the Commission’s failure to address the critical issue of expansion of agricultural land into environmentally sensitive areas when food production is displaced by fuel crops, a process known as indirect land use change (ILUC).
“As long as the Commission is unwilling to deal with the issue of indirect land use change, all attempts by the EU to brand biofuels as sustainable will be misleading, counterproductive and destined for failure” said Nusa Urbancic, of Transport & Environment.
On 8 March, the coalition of environmental organisations sued the European Commission for failing to release several key studies, documents and emails that reveal the extent of the impact of ILUC (2). The case is being dealt with by the General Court of the EU, the Union’s second-highest court of appeal (previously known as the Court of First Instance). The Commission has until 4 July to respond.
Tim Grabiel, lead lawyer on the ClientEarth v. Commission case, said: “It is completely inappropriate for European bureaucrats to hide the science on their misguided biofuel policies. The Commission must take leadership here, admitting its biofuel mistake and taking steps to correct it. It is unacceptable that we must sue the Commission to make it engage transparently with its citizens on biofuels’ environmental impacts.”
According to its own figures, the Commission is currently withholding about 140 documents, although the groups suspect that number is much higher. The environmental groups have urged their public release in the interests of transparency and public participation in policymaking, rights enshrined in European law.
The communication published today leaves a number of additional issues unresolved. In particular, the definition of what is ‘waste’ material in the context of collection of biomass for fuel use and the issue of so-called ‘grandfathering’ whereby any biofuel production facility already installed would be exempted from aspects of sustainability rules.
Pieter de Pous from the EEB said: “Let there be no mistake, with this communication the Commission won’t be able to ensure that biofuels are actually green. A lot more needs to be done, starting with facing up to the reality of indirect effects but also tightening the exemptions for existing installations.”
An earlier draft of today’s communication defined palm oil plantations as forests, a move criticised by the UK, Netherlands and Denmark governments as well as by environmental NGO’s. That classification was removed from the final version.
“While it is commendable that the Commission has dropped the shameful attempt to pass palm plantations for forests, this communication leaves unchanged the fact that the EU is subsidising massive forest destruction through its bio-energy policies”, said Ariel Brunner, head of EU Policy at BirdLife International.

2.3. Costly Nuclear Fusion Demo Worries Cash-Strapped EU
9 june 2010, Reuters
A funding battle is brewing in Europe over a 16-billion-euro ($21.5 billion) experiment to crack the puzzle of commercializing nuclear fusion — the process that powers the sun.
The European Union’s executive arm is trying to coordinate an extra contribution of 1.4 billion euros in 2012-2013 from EU member countries, whose finances have been crippled by the economic crisis.
Many environmentalists say the cost of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project is out of control and money would be better spent on low-carbon projects such as home insulation which also create millions of jobs.
ITER’s backers argue it has the potential to change the course of history and needs unwavering commitment.
At the center of the issue are dreams of harnessing nuclear fusion, which releases vast amounts of energy in the core of a star, under huge gravitational forces and temperatures of around 10 million degrees Celsius.
Scientists have shown the process can be recreated on Earth, combining simple hydrogen isotopes to release vast amounts of energy, but so far it has not been demonstrated on an industrial scale. Nor have previous experiments released more energy than they consume.
In 2006, more than 30 countries signed a deal to build the ITER nuclear fusion reactor, under construction in Cadarache, southern France.
At its core will be a 500-cubic-meter doughnut-shaped steel vessel in which a superheated stream of plasma circulates in a vacuum, held in place by superconducting magnets.
If all goes well, from 2020 the project will be capable of generating around 500 megawatts of fusion energy — clean power with no climate-damaging emissions and little radioactive waste.
But increasing complexity and rising prices for steel, concrete and copper have led to a tripling of construction costs since they were estimated in 2001. The 27-country European Union is committed to picking up 45 percent of that.
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3.1. Billions in savings and investment await Council action
10 June 2010, WWF
EU Environment Ministers should call for carbon trading improvements
Brussels, Belgium – The European Union’s environment ministers will meet tomorrow in Luxembourg to discuss a communication1 the European Commission published on 26 May which shows that a CO2 emissions reduction target of -30% by 2020 will be beneficial to the European economy, saving billions of Euros in health costs and tens of billions in avoided fossil fuel imports2. The paper also details policy improvements that will rescue the credibility of the European Union’s flagship climate policy, the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), and create an additional €8 billion from auctioning permits3 for EU treasuries, which can be put to good use investing in clean energy.
The EU ETS is the first Carbon Trading Scheme in the world and was initially set in place to discourage industry from polluting and to create a real incentive for investments in cleaner technology and innovative growth in Europe. But with the current scheme awash in extra credit, there is little reason for European polluters to invest for future reductions – which are meant to be up to 95% by 2050.
‘So far the EU has been handing out winning lottery tickets to a handful of companies while the public picks up the tab. Especially given the current economic situation, we should start seeing the financial benefit of the trading system going where it’s needed’, said Jason Anderson, head of European climate and energy policy at WWF.
Some energy intensive industries have received free quotas under the ETS that they have sold for billions of Euros in profit, whilst cynically arguing against meaningful improvements to EU climate policy4. At the same time, those who have had to make reductions have been big buyers of overseas offset credits, largely from small upgrades to fluorocarbon facilities5; as a consequence it has become even more profitable to keep producing these ozone-destroying chemicals6.
The Environment Council should now call for a -30% CO2 emissions reduction target by 2020, achieved within Europe, as well as for the necessary changes to climate policy to achieve it. Only with these changes will the EU live up to its commitment to keep emissions on a path that will avoid global warming of more than 2° C, and get the ETS back on track.

3.2. NGOs urge EC to adopt stricter legislation on air pollution
9 June 2010, T&E
In a letter sent to the European Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Potocnik, T&E – together with a coalition of NGOs – has urged the Commission to stop postponing the adoption of legislation in the field of air pollution and has called for stricter national emission ceilings.
"Air pollutants are estimated to cause close to half a million premature deaths each year as well as severe damage to the environment through eutrophication, acidification and ground-level ozone throughout Europe", the letter says.
"The revision of key legislation on emissions is therefore needed and would help Member States comply with limit values on ambient air quality which are currently exceeded in most parts of Europe", it reads.
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4.1. EU promotes ‘green jobs’ as way out of crisis
11 June 2010, EurActiv
Plans to create a generation of ‘green’ jobs will involve low-skilled as well as high-skilled workers, and could therefore play a key social function in addressing Europe’s unemployment crisis, EU officials and MEPs told a Brussels conference yesterday (10 June).
The debate, organised by the European Greens, sought to assess the state of play in the EU’s drive to "green the economy," particularly as it relates to the creation of low-carbon jobs.
Former Socialist MEP Gyula Hegyi, introduced as ‘Mr. Green Jobs’ in EU Employment Commissioner László Andor’s cabinet, refuted the notion that the green agenda would only create elite science and high-tech jobs.
Instead, he emphasised that workers from all skill levels would require retraining to adapt to the green era. "Green jobs will also mean low-skilled jobs, and millions of them," he claimed.
He cited as an example a major project in his home country Hungary – a canal which will link the Danube with another major river, providing agricultural irrigation and improved transport emissions. This project would require 100,000 workers to build, and 40,000 workers to maintain, he said.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) definition is the ideal benchmark for how we should view green jobs, Hegyi said, adding that the promotion of low-skilled, low-carbon employment "can have a very important social function, particularly in a time of crisis".
No transformation without investment
The Commission official argued that if successfully promoted, the advent of the green jobs era in the EU could be compared to the advent of the computer era 20 years ago, in that scientists and tech experts will initially hold most of the knowledge, but it will rapidly become common currency among all citizens.
However, other participants at the debate cautioned that this hopeful scenario could only become reality if policymakers as well as big business leaders put their money where their mouth is.
German Green MEP Elisabeth Schroedter, who in April 2010 produced a draft report on the subject, argued that without significant investment in the "green transformation" of European industry and the retraining of European workers, more jobs would be lost than created.
This point was echoed from the industry perspective by Judith Kirton-Darling of the European Metalworkers Federation (EMF). "We have heard a lot of rhetoric about green jobs, but the lack of real investment worries us," she cautioned.
Kirton-Darling said that the scale of the transformation was "mind-boggling" and would fail without huge investment, specifying that many industrial players and trade unions favoured the introduction of so-called "green bonds" – Euro bonds earmarked for investment in green technology and training.
Hegyi, too, mentioned green bonds as a potential investment tool, and also drew attention to the new UK government’s mooted green investment bank, which he viewed as a positive idea.
He concluded by arguing that both EU structural funds and the European Social Fund would have to play a part "if we are serious about greening our economy".
According to an ILO definition (see p.5), "green jobs reduce the environmental impact of enterprises and economic sectors, ultimately to levels that are sustainable".
The ILO report defines ‘green jobs’ as work in "agriculture, industry, services and administration that contributes to preserving or restoring the quality of the environment".
"Green jobs are found in many sectors of the economy from energy supply to recycling and from agriculture and construction to transportation," it notes.
In her draft report on green jobs and sustainable employment strategies, German Green MEP Elisabeth Schroedter called on the Commission, EU member states and EU social partners to "ensure that everyone across the EU benefits from a sustainable jobs strategy," with particular attention being focused on "people furthest from the labour market, the most vulnerable and low-skilled workers".
Speaking at yesterday’s debate, Schroedter argued that the greatest transformation would take place within as opposed to between jobs, i.e. a majority of workers would learn new skills and training while keeping their current job. This would ensure healthy labour markets while bringing about the type of changes needed to green the EU economy, she claimed.
Judith Kirton-Darling of the European Metalworkers Federation ( EMF ) argued that EU social partners have been very active in coordinating a "social response" to climate change. She went on to contend that the EU can’t have a strong sustainable low carbon strategy without a strong industrial base.
She claimed that other major world economies, including the emerging BRIC countries, were making signficantly higher investment than Europe in restructuring their economies. EU industry is "existentially concerned" as a result, she said.


5.1. EU not meeting commitments needed to achieve Millennium Development Goals
1 June 2010, WWF
EU strategy to reduce world poverty back tracks as environmental sustainability is not taken into account
Brussels, Belgium – With two weeks left to go until the EU Summit in June, where European Heads of State will endorse the EU position for the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) ahead of the UN High Level meeting in September 2010, the fact that environmental sustainability is not recognised in the EU Action Plan is worrying, considering it is one of the eight core pillars of the MDGs.
Around 100 euros per EU citizen per year is used towards overseas development assistance which reflects the views of 72% of Europeans who are in favour of honouring or going beyond existing aid commitments to the developing world1. This is why, with only five years left before the 2015 target date for the achievement of the MDGs, the EU must re-evaluate the role of natural resources in development, especially in light of the background analysis in the EU working documents that list ‘lessons learned’ and the need to ‘maintain healthy ecosystems for securing economic growth and reaching the MDGs2.
Nature and the services it provides us for free are the back bone of human development. Biodiversity is key to ensuring food and water security and protection against natural disasters; its loss means the loss of fisheries, forests, agricultural productivity, soil fertility and freshwater resources. Over a billion people in developing countries rely on fish as a major source of food and yet 80% of the world fisheries are fully or over exploited3.
“1.4 billion people – nearly three times the European population – live in poverty and go to bed hungry every night. Nature on land and in the sea provides people all over the world with the basic resources needed to thrive and survive and yet natural resources are being destroyed and degraded, making the attainment of the MDGs nearly impossible”, said Sally Nicholson, EU Development and International Relations Senior Policy Officer, WWF European Policy Office, “doubling current investments for biodiversity conservation is vital”.
Climate change also presents massive threats to the achievement of the MDG’s, as poor people in developing countries and small island developing states are 79 times more likely to be hit by a climate change related disaster than someone from a rich country . In the EU Action plan only improved coordination of EU fast start finance for climate change is mentioned, which is in itself insufficient. Climate change and biodiversity loss are interlinked and need to be tackled together to provide climate mitigation and adaptation solutions.
“In order to conserve biodiversity while reducing poverty and increasing human well-being and development, environmental concerns must be integrated across all key policy areas such as climate change, as well as key economic and development strategies. The EU must recognise the imperative for environmental sustainability abroad within development cooperation and external actions”, concluded Sally Nicholson.


6.1. Analysis of options to move beyond 20% greenhouse gas emission reductions and assessing the risk of carbon leakage
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions – Analysis of options to move beyond 20% greenhouse gas emission reductions and assessing the risk of carbon leakage {SEC(2010) 650}
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