Stavros Dimas, Commissioner for Environment opined that though in recent times, Europe has made considerable progress in cleaning the air that we breathe; air pollution remains a serious problem and continues to damage our health and the environment.
The results of a poll published in March, 2008 by the European Commission show the strong European public opinion in favor of environmental protection: 95 % of the people who were questioned in the European Union (EU) consider environmental protection as an important question. Protection of the environment while assuring the supply of energy for the population is one of the major challenges of the 21th century. Being conscious of these stakes, the European Union emerged as one of the leaders in the global fight against climate change. Environmental and energy issues cannot be treated simply on a national scale. The Union thus acts with respect to the skills of member states, to coordinate national actions and develop more effective and better adapted European initiatives.
What are the challenges faced by EU with respect to energy and environment, and how may they resolve them?
Firstly, we will see that EU is conscious about energy and environmental stakes, has goals related to their protection, and has taken some measures to address issues related to them. We will also examine the divergent interests in the EU which limit the environmental and energy policies.
The conference of heads of state and government in Paris in 1972 opened the way to the implementation of a common policy in environmental protection. Since then, the European policy of the environment evolved, passing gradually from a set of minimal and thematic legislations, to a global and integrated strategy.
It aims at the conservation, protection and improvement of the quality of the environment, the protection of the health of the people, the careful and rational use of natural resources, as well as the implementation of the international plan, and the measures intended to face the regional or global problems of the environment. Europe intervenes in very varied domains with regard to the management of waste, noise pollution, atmospheric pollution, and water pollution, the conservation of nature and biodiversity, and industrial risks.
Tags: Kyoto Protocol, Environment policies of the EU, Energy policies of the EU
[...] Strictly bound to the fight against climate change and the energy policy, this strategy aims at establishing long-lasting ways of consumption and production, by emphasizing education, research and public financing. The strategy was translated by the elaboration of new policies, which must be now completely operated. In 2009, the Committee presented a set of measures to promote products that were environment-friendly. It suggests the spreading of the system of labels of energy efficiency used today, particularly for washing machines. Hence, we can see that there are real ideas and goals, and measures which have been taken to realize them. [...]
[...] The treaty on the Charter of the energy and a protocol on the energy efficiency and the related environmental aspects, came into effect in 1998, and transformed the legally binding commitments. The principles expressed in the Charter of the energy, included the protection of investments, free transit, and the procedures defined by the regulation of disputes. Finally, the package of energy-climate was considered a concrete realization as well. B. Some countries follow a logic of defending the national interests, which limits the efficacy of European energy and environmental policy There is however a fly in the ointment of Europe which is united on the front of challenges related to energy and the environment. [...]
[...] It reaffirms the objective of "three times 20 " ( reduction of greenhouse gas emissions as compared to the level of improvement in energy efficiency, and 20% increase in the share of renewable energies in the total consumption of energy by 2020). In the area of environmental protection, some concrete objectives were fixed in many domains: The governments of Member states fixed ceilings to the volumes of CO2 that could be emitted by sectors using energy. Companies exceeding their quota of CO2 would have to buy licenses from the other more effective companies. [...]
[...] Since 2003, a directive defines a global tax regime for the levy of energy products, akin to improving the functioning of the internal market, and to encourage initiatives favorable to environmental protection. The development of the trans-European energy networks has also been conducted. With respect to electricity, we may note that two networks were linked with the main European electricity network (UCPTE network): the electricity network of CENTREL, which comprises participation from Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, and the NORDEL network which includes the Scandinavian countries. [...]
[...] The objectives of the energy policy aim to assure security in energy supply and provide it at an affordable price for all the consumers, a reduction that solidifies greenhouse gas emissions caused by the production or the energy consumption, the smooth running of the internal market, which is open and competitive, the interconnection and the interoperability of networks, the opening up of regions, as well as the assertion of a single voice on the international scene for EU. Although this subject concerns all the 27 member states, the establishment of a common policy on it is not simple. [...]
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee