CrisisWatch

Crisis

Will the new EU Commission aim for a brave green world?

The environmental failure of the outgoing Barroso Commission, most noticeably reflected in the “REFIT – fit for growth” initiative and the low ambition 2030 climate and energy package, has marred the EU’s profile as a global green leader. Will the Commission of 2014 show the necessary commitment to the sustainability pillar of the EU Treaty? That remains to be seen, as the newly appointed President, Jean Claude Juncker, lacks an environme...
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Economic recession results in CO2 emissions cuts

An EU-wide 1.3% reduction in CO2 emissions between 2011 and 2012 marks the lowest recorded annual greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) since 1990: 19.2%. This brings the EU very close to the achievement of the 2020 emissions reduction target by 20%. Despite however the euphoria that this downward trend may generate, the main reductions are attributed to lower industrial activity and transport, primarily in crisis-stricken member states. Increased emiss...
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French people want a greener Europe

Notwithstanding the harbingers of economic doom calling for rapid growth at all environmental costs, the majority of French people state green policies a priority for Europe. 90% of the French population say they are in favour of developing an energy mix based on renewable energy and energy efficiency (41% “completely” agree with this idea); Over three-quarters of the French population (77%) think that Europe-wide energy transition and en...
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EC withdraws draft law on public access to environmental justice

Having for years remained in the Commission’s “freezer”, due to opposition by key member states such as the UK, the 2003 draft directive on access to environmental justice was officially withdrawn on May 21st. The Commission’s intention to withdraw the proposal was first announced in its October 2013 communication on the “REFIT – fit for Growth” plan to reduce regulatory burden and costly requirements on businesses. Another victim o...
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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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Candidate MEPs commit to sustainable economies in Europe

In view of the upcoming European Parliament elections of May 25th, WWF launched a pledge platform, calling candidate MEPs to commit to specific environmental and sustainable development policy priorities. As stated in the EU Elections Manifesto, “Europe has adopted important comprehensive legislation on issues such as nature protection, water and marine conservation as well as illegal timber trade. After important efforts to foster effective i...
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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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New EU directive allows for EIA-free fracking

The new Directive 2014/52/EU “of 16 April 2014 amending Directive 2011/92/EU on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment” has been welcomed by many environmental groups as a major step towards strengthening impact assessment legislation. It has however also attracted much criticism as hydraulic fracturing, a relatively new and environmentally detrimental technology for the extraction of shale gas...
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