EU environment experts meet in Prague to discuss climate change strategy

Photo: CTK

Environment experts from the 27 EU member states met in Prague on Monday for a two-day seminar on battling climate change. The conference should help outline the framework for an agreement on future limitations of greenhouse gasses emissions, a successor to the Kyoto protocol, due to expire in 2012. As the Czech environment minister, Martin Bursík, told the conference, the Czech Republic wants to secure wider cooperation on the issue.

Martin Bursík,  photo: CTK
Bringing the world together on reducing greenhouse gases emissions and designing new financial mechanisms to tackle climate change are the top environmental priorities of the Czech EU presidency. EU experts at government level are now meeting in Prague to discuss the Union’s plans for a global climate change conference to be held in Copenhagen later this year. Czech Environment Minister Martin Bursík says the country’s goals are very ambitious.

“We are responsible for all the negotiations with regards to the global climate change conference in Copenhagen, which will take place in December this year. Our intention is first, to invite the United States on board so as to combine the efforts of the EU and the US. We also want to speak to China, India, Japan, Brazil, Argentine, the African countries and others and invite them to participate. This is definitely a priority.”

Pavel Zámyslický who heads the climate change department of the Czech Environment Ministry, is one of the experts representing the Czech presidency at the conference. He says it is vital that developing countries from around the globe be actively involved in any future strategy to combat climate change.

“The main focus is on further climate change infrastructure in a post 2012-regime. In December of this year, all partners of the UN Climate Change Convention, known as the Kyoto Protocol, will come together in Copenhagen to find a new agreement about a new structure, a new architecture in terms of climate change and how to tackle it. It will be necessary to reach a new agreement under the new regime on emissions reductions that should be delivered by developed as well as developing countries and on the financial needs and sources. This is I think the most important issue we would like to discuss today.”

The Czech presidency is also planning to put forward a number of bills to be approved by the European Parliament. These include an upgrade of the existing Integrated Pollution and Prevention Control, and a bill on eco-labelling, which deals with environmental and management auditing schemes in industry. Minister Bursík is going to Brussels this week to present the Czech priorities to the European Parliament, but given the coming elections, he says time is running short.

“It’s sort of surprising that although the European Parliament finishes its term in early April, there is so much legislation to be passed. On Wednesday, I’ll be presenting the environmental priorities of the Czech EU presidency at the environmental committee and I am looking forward to the debate with European parliamentarians.”

A meeting of EU environment ministers, dealing with European strategies for battling climate change, will be held in Brussels in March.