Environment ministers when they meet in Luxembourg on Monday (17 June) will give their verdict on a European Commission blueprint for adapting to climate change.
The Commission has said it may put forward legislation in 2017 if member states do not make faster progress towards national strategies to deal with the effects of climate change, such as unusual weather events and floods. Although the Commission has issued guidance, plans already drawn up in the member states differ widely in their level of detail.
The ministers are expected to agree that national plans are needed – but to play down the need for further legislation at European Union level. The Commission estimates that failing to adapt to climate change will cost at least €100 billion a year in 2020, rising to €250bn in 2050.
Feeling the heat
Last Monday (10 June), the international energy agency (IEA) issued a report warning that governments have less than five years to limit the rise in global temperature to 2°C, the level above which scientists have said the effects multiply dangerously. For the first time, the IEA issued guidance for the energy sector to prepare for failure to meet that target. “For the first time we are using the word adaptation,” said Fatih Birol, chief economist at the IEA. “The energy sector will either be part of the solution to climate change or, if not, it will need to prepare itself for a warmer climate.”
The ministers will also adopt conclusions on last year’s Rio+20 summit.
They will be updated by the Irish presidency on progress on the proposal to include indirect land use change (ILUC) considerations in EU biofuel legislation, proposed changes to rules on fluorinated gases, and on the ETS aviation dispute between the EU and its global partners.
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