Irish presidency unveils environmental programme

Ireland has named securing agreement with MEPs on Europe’s seventh environmental action plan (7EAP) as the top environmental priority of its EU six-month presidency term.

  • The Irish presidency also aims to ask for council conclusions on a new EU climate adaptation strategy, which the European Commission is likely to bring forward soon following on from a white paper issued three years ago.
  • Ireland hopes to broker early agreements with the European Parliament on a proposal to delay or “backload” auctions of 900 million EU carbon allowances, and on plans to temporarily exempt international aviation from the emissions trading system.
  • The full presidency programme published on Wednesday 09 January 2013 shows that Ireland will also seek agreement with MEPs on proposals to extend the batteries directive and the list of so-called priority substances, as well as on the issue of ship recycling.

Ireland also plans to convene a joint informal meeting of energy and environment ministers to discuss the important links between the two policy areas.

  • EU environment ministers will discuss proposals to revise directives on environmental impact assessments (EIAs) and on fuel quality and renewable energy, as well as new rules on fluorinated greenhouse. But they are not expected to make final decisions on these issues in the first half of the year.
  • However, the presidency programme is silent on the issue of EU climate finance, which slipped off ministers’ shared agenda in November.

Separately, Ireland has brought forward its own first national framework on climate change adaptation, based on the commission’s 2009 paper. Temperatures have increased by 0.8°C since 1990 in the country, while the intensity of storms has increased, a trend that is projected to continue.

  • Ireland missed the deadline for publishing its draft climate bill, which was due to be brought forward by the end of 2012. This is now projected to happen early this year, the minister said in a statement released during the Christmas holidays.
  • The body advising the government on the matter is due to release its final report on next month, having already submitted interim recommendations including that Ireland should amend its vehicle tax regime. The government did this last month.

Presidency website

Programme of the Irish Presidency of the Council of the European Union 

Irish climate change adaptation framework 

ENDS Europe 

ECOS Environmental Consultants Limited