At present, the international community is faced with a serious situation due to accelerated global warming caused by indiscreet industrial development.In this reality, the European Union is playing a leading role in environment leading countries that lead the world environment by implementing sustainable environmental policies and solving problems.However, the EU can not escape from global environmental problems and is exposed to various problems. FutureEco has heard from the Ambassador of the EU delegation about the EU's policies on environmental issues and the exchange of environmental fields with Korea.
1. After the US government has withdrawn from the Convention on Climate Change, what are the reactions and climate policy trends in the EU?
The EU as one of the main promotors of the Paris Agreement will fulfill its obligations and work with and encourage other partners to do the same. Many key activities to achieve the Paris goals have already been taken on and accepted by public authorities and businesses, like research in renewable energy, electric mobility, developing new batteries and energy efficiency.
Emissions trading schemes are widely used. Support for low emission energy schemes has become part of development policies and is part of political dialogues. Leading by example and fostering cooperation also within the UN system will assure success in the common interest this summer's catastrophic storms, the victims and destruction they caused should be another wake-up call.
2. The EU is pursuing a positive energy policy against climate change, such as canceling plans to expand coalfired power plants in the region. CO2 emissions from the use of fossil fuels are also declining overall. On the other hand, there are countries where CO2 emissions are increasing. Please let me know about the outcome of EU enlargement policy of renewable energy use.
The EU has a collective target of 20% reduction of greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions by 2020 compared to 1990 levels, and is on its way to overachieve it by several percentage points.
But the EU has in place binding legislation with internal trading to ensure that the EU as a whole jointly reaches its reduction target. The EU continues to successfully decouple its economic growth from its emissions. During the 1990-2016 period, the EU’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 53%, while total emissions, excluding land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) and including international aviation decreased by 23 %. The EU’s GHG emissions intensity of the economy, defined as the ratio betweenemissions and GDP, halved during the 1990- 2016 period.
3. After pesticide eggs triggered in Belgium, what are the relevant safety verification and regulatory direction in the EU?
As a result of the integrated Food Safety policy in the EU, the EU has detected a fraudulent use of Fipronil, an insecticide, which is banned in the EU to be used in food-producing animals. Actions were taken quickly as a service company was using illegal treatments against red mite on a number of laying hen farms. Therefore, all farms, which have been treated by the service treatment company since January 2017 have beenimmediately blocked by the competent authorities of the concerned Member States and no eggs/chicken meat from these farms could be placed on the market, nor exported to non EU-countries.
The poultry products were only released if samples demonstrated compliance. In case the sample indicated noncompliance, the farms remained blocked and the eggs and chicken were withdrawn from the market. These eggsandchicken had to be destroyed and could not be used for production of food. A judicial investigation was launched in several EU Member States.
Noncompliant eggs and poultrly already placed on the market or exported before the blocking of the farmshave been withdrawn from the EU market and the concerned non- EU countries have been informed via the Rapid Alarm System for Food and Feed (RASFF) system, if non-compliant poultry products have been exported. This has been possible due to a compulsory tracing requirement system, which allows identifying and taking adequate action on possible contaminated products. Korea was not affected in any way by the detection of Fipronil in European eggs.
The European Commission and EU Member States' competent authorities are continuing their investigations and will inform the EU trade partners accordingly on possible non compliances. These stringent control measures taken by the EU guarantee the continuation of safe trade of poultry and poultry products and therefore continue to respond to the highest food safety standards.
4. In the aftermath of pesticide eggs that have occurred in Korea, eco- friendly certification of all household goods as well as food is on the verifying stage. What is the latest trend of regulatory policy that the EU is focusing on in the eco-friendly certification of products?
The EU has developed a voluntary Eco-label certificate for environ mentally friendly brands for different product group including electrical equipment, appliances, clothes, etc. The label, a flower, is recognised throughout the EU Member States as well as in Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. Product criteria are based on scientific studies which are elaborated in consultation with the EU Eco-labelling Board that includes national offices from Member State, environmental groups, consumers and Industry.
When these criteria are approved by the Commission, specialized bodies across the EU award the Flower to products that meet the criteria. As the label is granted independently and not by producers, the label has good credibility.
As of 2010, the EU has also introduced a new “EU logo” for organic products. The logo and the labelling rules are an important part of the organic regulations. Whenever buying organic food, the consumer can be confident that it has been produced in accordance with strict environmental and animal welfare rules and checked accordingly. If used on a product, the EU organic logo indicates that this product is in full conformity with the conditions and regulations for the organic farming sector established by the European Union.
For processed products, it means that at least 95% of the agricultural ingredients are organic. Next to the new EU organic logo, a code number of the control body is displayed as well as the place where the agricultural raw materials composing the product have been farmed.
The use of the EU's organic logo is compulsory for the labelling and advertising of organic pre-packaged food
products produced within the EU, where the terms referring to organic production are used (e.g: organic, bio, eco, etc.). It is also possible to use the EU logo on a voluntary basis for non-pre-packaged organic products produced within the Union and which satisfy the requirements set out under the EU legislation or any organic products imported from third countries and recognised as equivalent.
5. In the case of the EU, which is free to move within the region, a close response to the influence of environmental problems from other countries is likely to be needed. How does the EU deal with regional environmental cooperation or transboundary pollution issues?
Transboundary air pollution within the EU is regulated by the 'National Emissions Ceilings Directives' which contains emission ceilings for each Member State. The Directives set emission ceilings for the following 4 pollutant: sulphur dioxides (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and ammonia (NH3). By capping the total national emissions from each Member State, transboundary air pollution is reduced. EU source control legislation supports Member States with attaining their ceilings, but Member States should take additional national measures when the source control legislation proves to be insufficient to reach their national emission ceilings.
The NEC Directives transpose the obligations laid down in the Gothenburg Protocol into EU law. By includingthe ceilings and reduction commitments into the Union law, the Commission can take legal steps
against those Member States that do not comply with their obligations. The Directives also transpose the reporting obligation of emission inventories into the EU law. Member States report their emission inventories to the European Environment Agency and are publically available.
Transboundary air pollution from countries bordering the EU is primarily covered by the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP) and its different protocols. The EU is in the process of ratifying the revised Gothenburg Protocol which we hope to deposit at the Convention's Secretariat by September 2017. In addition, we have bilateral cooperation projects with some of the EU's neighbouring countries supporting ratification of the Convention's protocols and the implementation of emission reduction measures with a view on reducing the impact of transboundary air pollution.
The EU also engages in international fora, like the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) to raise awareness and increase global action on long- range air pollution. Since the Republic of Korea is also engaged in the CCAC we have the possibility to cooperate in this international forum.
6. As the Ambassador of the EU Delegation to the Korea, what are you most interested and focused on for environmental cooperation with Korea?
As mentioned earlier, working with Korea to get the Paris Agreement implemented is a core task. Thereby we try to raise awareness of the Korean public through various concrete activities: A few days ago the six winners of EU Climate Change Journalist Award got their certificates and flight tickets to Brussels; with my
colleagues from the EU Member States we participated in the car free day in Seoul and run a campaign not to let motors idle without using them; I am driving an electric official car; through our GATEWAY program we brought companies specializing in we run a program supporting low carbon action to get cities and civil society groups work together….
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