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Save The World On Many Fronts

  • June 9th, 2007
  • Posted by EUEditor

g8-logo.jpegAs the Group of Eight (G8) meeting took a step, definitely not a large stride, towards decisive world action on climate change, the EU was gearing up for environmental actions, both more down-to-earth, and out at sea.

GROUP OF EIGHT (G8)

The European countries at the G8 meeting in Heiligendamm in Germany (France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom) got the two hold-outs, (President Vladimir Putin of Russia and President George Bush of the USA), to agree on the need to cut greenhouse gases – but they would not agree to the EU’s specific targets for control of carbon dioxide emissions.

The European Uniion last December settled on a policy of itself cutting CO2 output by 20% by 2020, and to sign on for much bigger cuts if other countries would do the same.

Today (8.6.07) the Group of Eight (Canada and Japan also included) were joined by the heads of government from five emerging economies: Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa.

They put out statements on economic and technological cooperation, and a declaration in support of attacking climate change within the framework of the United Nations, which will be convening a world conference on the problem, in Indonesia this December.

That statement accommodated demands by the developing countries for aid from the West if they were going to take part in large scale control of gas emissions.

It said developing countries would face special problems of adaptation to climate change and any international program should include cooperation on advanced technology and financing.

WORLD ENVIRONMENT AND OCEANS

In Brussels plans were being announced for another major conference on environment, with 4000 participants expected next week (12-15.6.07) to mark “Green Week 2007”.

The theme would be “learning from past successes and failures”, and appropriately the European Commission at the same time said it had just received fresh bad news, about the state of the seas – fisheries in particular.

It said the information was from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), and commented: “The news is rather bad regarding the state of a number of important European fish stocks.”

The ICES was recommending closure of fishing for cod in major areas and reduction of fishing quotas.

NEW CONTROLS COMING

Initiatives on fishing were then announced, to be decided on at a meeting of the European Council made up of Agriculture and Fisheries Ministers, to take place next week (11-12.6.07).

The Ministers will be asked to support new measures to protect red tuna being over-fished in the Mediterranean Sea and Eastern Atlantic.

They will be told that fishing effort has been far exceeding set limits, and that new measures should include: bans on certain kinds of nets (and all longlines in the Mediterranean), a ban on use of aircraft, and an expanded system of inspections at all stages in the production process, from ports through to processing.

GMOs, FRUIT AND VEGETABLES

Other changes being prepared for the European Council:

A review on rules governing the certification of organic fruit and vegetables, to include a controversial provision permitting GMO-free product actually to have up to 0.9% of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) – allowing for uncontrollable leakages from neighbouring farms, some product getting into animal feed lines, or contamination at a mill.

Proposals from the European Commission to overhaul the fruit and vegetables industry, which will include funding of producer organisations — to support more independence for farm producers under pressure from supermarkets and other major buyers.

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