The approval of the European Climate Law is “the grand accomplishment” of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU and reaffirms Europe's "commitment" to the Paris Agreement, maintaining its position as the “world leader in the fight against climate change”, in the opinion of the Portuguese Minister for the Environment and Climate Action.
Speaking at a press conference in Luxembourg after the formal meeting of Environment Ministers, which he chaired on Thursday, João Pedro Matos Fernandes also announced the approval of the European Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change by the Member States. The Minister pointed out that the European Commission's proposal was “very positive” and “clearly recognises the fundamental principles of adaptation, which include international cooperation”. Underlining that climate change “is not a problem of the future, but of the present”, Matos Fernandes said that “adapting is as important as mitigating”.
The new strategy on adaptation to climate change entails a long-term vision of how the EU can become fully adapted to the inevitable impacts of climate change by 2050. The conclusions approved by the Council of the EU subscribe to the goals of the strategy to broaden and expand adaptation actions, with a renewed focus on knowledge, financial and economic considerations, solutions based on nature, the international dimension and the role of insurance.
Batteries and waste batteries – a challenge
With regard to the regulation on batteries, presented in late 2020, João Pedro Matos Fernandes believes that “a significant advance” has been made during the Portuguese Presidency, one which is “very necessary from a dual perspective: good environmental rules for a product which is going to become massified with electric mobility, and management of the lifecycle of batteries”.
The proposal to update European legislation on batteries and waste batteries is aimed at reducing the environmental and social impacts of these products, from raw materials to production, use, recycling and disposal.
“There will be no more EU funding of fossil fuels”
At the meeting of Ministers of Energy and Transport on Friday, also chaired by João Pedro Matos Fernandes, the 27 approved conclusions on the new Regulation on Trans-European Networks for Energy.
“There will be no more EU funding of fossil fuels”, the Minister said, pointing out that by doing this, “we are in line with the goal of decarbonisation, knowing that the energy sector carries significant weight in this decarbonisation”.
With the position adopted today, the Council of the EU has decided to put an end to support for new oil and natural gas projects and introduce mandatory sustainability criteria for all energy projects. It will now be up to the Slovenian Presidency to carry on “the work, which we hope will be fruitful, from discussion until the final approval”, Matos Fernandes concluded.