CrisisWatch

Biodiversity & natural resources

Italian national parks in risk of paralysis

A call for political alert over the country’s national parks was issued by WWF Italy on May 24th, European Day of Parks.  As a result of severe national budget cuts on environmental policies and nature conservation, at present only 3 of Italy’s 23 national parks have an operating management board and a President. Famed natural treasures, such as the Abruzzo and the Gennargentu national parks are dysfunctional, since they cannot take importa...
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To beach or not to beach? Greece legislates for rapid coastal development

In a draft law placed under public consultation on April 17th, the Greek Finance Ministry prepares to propose to the Hellenic Parliament a new legal framework that will: restrict the longstanding public right to unhindered access to the coast; restrict the number of lakes with a legally protected coastal ecosystem to those that are larger than 9,450 sq.m.(!); legalise existing illegal developments on the coastline, upon payment to the public...
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Over 90,000 sign pledge to save the Canaries from new oil & gas

Since the wake of the economic crisis, debt ridden states are promoting heavy footprint investments in resource extraction as the spearhead of their economic recovery strategies. Iconic and ecologically sensitive areas in the Mediterranean are at serious risk, due to oil and gas projects in Spain, Italy and Greece. Particularly at risk are the Canary Islands, Pantelleria in Sicily and the area of the Hellenic Trench, extending from Southern Crete...
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Will the Greek Presidency lead a politically modified compromise in GMO debate?

After a no-decision at the Council of February 11th, Greece’s Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos committed to passing the debate on GMOs to the Environment Council of March 3rd for discussion. Despite the fact that a clear majority of 19 EU member states (France, Italy, Hungary, Greece, Romania, Poland, the Netherlands, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Slovakia, Slovenia) voted agains...
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Thousands protest against plans to destroy Bulgaria's largest natural treasure

In the streets of many Bulgarian cities, large protests demand the protection of Bulgaria's Strandzha Nature Park. In the web, thousands have signed a petition for the same purpose. Conservation organisations, such as WWF, are determined to save this unique natural treasure. Having joined forces under the coalition "For the Nature", conservationists call on the Bulgarian Parliament and Government to pass urgent legislative changes that will to sa...
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Climate & biodiversity hit hardest by crisis says Finnish Environment Ministry

According to a February 5th press release by the Finnish Environment Ministry, “[i]n recent years the state of the environment has been affected by the ongoing financial crisis. The global recession in effect made it easier to achieve goals such as the Kyoto Protocol’s targeted reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Shrinking economic activity automatically leads to reductions in the use of natural resources and energy, as well as the result...
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Reform of French mining code: a green primer for Europe?

At the same time when mining is seen by many debt-ridden states as the manna from heaven and legislation is tailored to fit prospective investors, France may be showing the way for sustainable mining. The 700-article proposal for the reform of the Mining Code, which was prepared by an independent inter-disciplinary committee led by State Councillor Thierry Tuot, aims to modernise France’s mining legislation that dates back to the 19th centu...
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EIA laws on fire, in frenzy for investments

Spain and Portugal are revising their legislation on environmental impact assessments, with an eye on easing rules for high footprint investments of questionable development potential. In Spain, Law 21/2013 “on environmental impact assessment”, modifies the National Hydrological Plan allowing for water transfer schemes in the Tajo-Segura water basin and paving the way for other inter-basin water transfers, such as the much-contested plan for...
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Smog on the city…

A clear sign of the increasing energy poverty (see CrisisWatch#20), Greece’s major cities suffocate under a dense cloud of air pollutants, primarily particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), resulting from the increased use of fire wood. The smell of burning wood becomes especially heavy during cold and windless nights and the problem of low visibility can become particularly intense....
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Shale gas lobby wins war against strict environmental rules

Intense pressures by UK Prime Minister David Cameron and industry lobbies against specific environmental assessment legislation for shale gas have been crowned with success: the political agreement on the new environmental impact assessment (EIA) directive, a compromise agreement between the Permanent Representatives Committee and the European Parliament, does not include specific requirements for shale gas operations....
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