POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - POLITICS

Environment council

EU environment ministers coordinate on climate ahead of COP26



The environment ministers had their first formal exchange regarding the Fit for 55 package. Photo: Shutterstock

The environment ministers had their first formal exchange regarding the Fit for 55 package. Photo: Shutterstock

The European Union’s environment ministers held discussions in Luxembourg on 6 October ahead of the COP26 climate summit, with Carole Dieschbourg pressing on more frequent revision of climate action.

The ministers’ first order of business was discussing the United Nations framework convention on climate change, to be held between 31 October and 12 November. They adopted a position ahead of the event, calling upon participants to step up adaptation efforts and in particular the mobilization of international climate finance.

Luxembourg environment minister Carole Dieschbourg highlighted the need for a five-year revision cycle while other states preferred a ten-year one. She put forward the importance of more frequent reassessment in order to reach the targets set by the Paris Agreement. A five-year revision cycle was agreed upon in the end.

The environment ministers also had their first formal exchange regarding the Fit for 55 package. The set of measures aims to bring EU climate policies in line with reaching climate neutrality by 2050 and to reduce net greenhouse emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

“Due to the cross-cutting nature of the package, we can expect discussions to be complex and--realistically--to take some time. In general, Member States welcome the ‘Fit for 55%’ package as it aims to provide the concrete means for the EU to fulfil its increased climate ambition,”said Andrej Vizjak, Slovenian minister of the environment and spatial planning.

For Dieschbourg the priority for the EU must be limiting global warming below 1.5C°. She also highlighted that for Luxembourg, the road transport sector was by far the biggest source of emissions.

The Council adopted a position on the Aarhus Regulation regarding access to justice in environmental affairs while also discussing the EU’s forest strategy for 2030. Conclusions on the forest strategy will be adopted in November as part of the agriculture and fisheries council.