The aftermath of the UK election

1st June 2015

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Related tags

  • Carbon Trading ,
  • Mitigation ,
  • Politics & Economics ,
  • England


Clare E Fowell

Catherine Bearder MEP on the reaction in Brussels to the UK election.

The outcome of the UK election has set alarm bells ringing in Brussels. Now that a majority Conservative government is in place without input from Liberal Democrats there are worrying signs about its commitment to fighting climate change and supporting EU green policies. But overshadowing everything is the EU referendum, set to go ahead as early as 2016, which could have huge consequences for European efforts to protect the environment.

Fortunately, there has been a spate of positive stories on the environment that has raised my morale. One is the ruling by the Court of Justice of the EU that EU animal welfare standards for the transport of live animals must apply to all stages of a journey, including those taking place outside the bloc. It means that animals exported from the EU will be given adequate space, regular rest breaks and enough food and water for their entire journey wherever that might be.

In other news, the European parliament has given the final go-ahead to a law to slash disposable plastic bag use by 80% by 2025. Plastic bags not only blight the countryside, but many end up as litter in Europe's seas where they pose a threat to marine animals. This is a shared problem that requires a common solution, so it is heartening to see countries across the EU working together to tackle it.

Finally, agreement has been reached on fixing the EU's flawed emissions trading system and dealing with the surplus of allowances that has kept down the price of carbon permits in recent years. A system to automatically reduce the number of allowances will start in 2019, two years earlier than originally proposed. This crucial reform sends a powerful signal to the rest of the world that the EU is serious about tacking climate change in the build-up to global talks in Paris later this year.

Catherine Bearder, Liberal Democrat 
MEP and a member of the European parliament's environment committee.


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