In 2011 the international community launched negotiations on a new international agreement to act collectively to protect the earth's climate system. This agreement, which is to be completed by the end of 2015 and to apply from 2020 onwards, is currently being negotiated through a process known as the "Durban Platform for Enhanced Action" (ADP). The EESC advocates that European engagement should be proactive, ambitious and realistic about what can be accomplished and adaptive to changes in the global environment. Reflecting all three pillars of sustainability as well as transparency and accountability are pre-requisites for any successful future climate agreement. An EU that is able to cope with external challenges will also be able to provide a new driving narrative for its citizens.
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Sustainable Development Observatory - Related Opinions
The EESC supports the strategy on adaptation to climate change proposed by the Commission, while at the same underlining that mitigation policies are a key priority given the negative impact that climate change has already had in Europe. The implementation of the new adaptation plan must take account of the fact that higher temperatures in Europe and the possibility of an increased rate of extreme phenomena may cause damage to people, the economy and the environment that is greater than initially thought.
Plastic waste in the environment is a grave global problem. When it comes to marine pollution, plastic waste accounts for a large majority of visible and invisible pollutants. It is vital to improve the accuracy of analyses of waste streams that contain plastics, including analysis of how this waste enters the marine environment. The Green Paper on a European plastic waste strategy provides a breadth of statistics and references [...] In line with the waste hierarchy, efforts should be made to ensure that less plastic waste is generated in the first place. Some uses of plastics could be restricted if there are more environmentally friendly alternatives.
In the referral letter for this exploratory opinion the Commission makes the link between Sustainable development goals (SDGs), inclusive green economy and poverty eradication and asks to explore how, in a future framework of universally applicable SDGs, the economic, environmental and social dimension might be successfully integrated.
(...) The EESC believes that developing an inclusive green economy will be Europe's main challenge in the coming years if it wants to remain a global economic power. At the Rio+20 conference, the EU pledged its commitment to the green economy as a form of sustainable development. Now is the time for the EU to take action. This is why we need an economic development model that prioritises public investment and draws up adequate incentives for private investment to develop "green" infrastructure and R&D&I, with the dual purpose of promoting production in order to emerge quickly from the current recession and guiding our transition through this third industrial revolution from a leading economic and social position (...)
The EESC welcomes the draft proposal for a seventh Environment Action Programme (EAP). The decision of the Council and of the Parliament establishes an environment policy consensus among the EU's decision-making institutions on how serious the environmental situation remains, that there are significant deficiencies in the implementation of European environment law, that the efforts made to date to solve current and future problems have been inadequate, and on what action needs to be taken in environment policy in the period up to 2020.
Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their utilisation in the union
The present opinion seeks to assess the Rio+20 conference in the light of the EESC's proposals and to identify prospects for follow-up measures. The EESC was heavily involved in the preparations for the 2012 UN conference on sustainable development (Rio+20). The success of this conference will become clear solely by means of follow-up measures at local level. The additional opinion aims to take stock of the conference and to set priorities for the future.
Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on the Proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2003/87/EC clarifying provisions on the timing of auctions of greenhouse gas allowances