EU environmental policies and legislation protect natural habitats, keep air and water clean, ensure proper waste disposal, improve knowledge about toxic chemicals and help businesses move toward a sustainable economy.

The following is a list of EU Environment and Climate Change related legislation documents and weblinks that are currently available on Lean Business Ireland.

2020 climate and energy package
Directive 2009/28/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources and amending and subsequently repealing Directives 2001/77/EC and 2003/30/EC

These ‘20-20-20’ targets are aimed at combating climate change, increasing the EU’s energy security and strengthening its competitiveness. They are also headline targets of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

The climate and energy package comprises complementary legislation, aimed at ensuring the EU meets its ambitious climate and energy targets for 2020. The package sets 3 key targets:

  • 20 % reduction in EU greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels;
  • 20 % improvement in the EU’s energy efficiency ;
  • 20 % of EU energy from renewables (wind, solar, biomass, etc.).
A programme for clean and competitive SMEs [Archived]
Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - Small, clean and competitive - A programme to help small and medium-sized enterprises comply with environmental legislation {SEC(2007}906 {SEC(2007) }907 {SEC(2007)908}

To help small and medium-sized enterprises apply EU environmental legislation as well as possible, the Commission proposes a programme aimed at improving legislation, environmental management tools, financial assistance, local expertise as well as communication and information.

A strategy for better ship dismantling practices
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - An EU strategy for better ship dismantling {SEC(2008) 2846} {SEC(2008) 2847}

The EU strategy proposes a series of measures aimed at improving ship dismantling conditions as soon as possible, in particular during the interim period preceding the entry into force of the new IMO convention.

A strategy for integrating the environment into EU policies [Archived]
Communication from the Commission to the European Council - Partnership for integration - A strategy for Integrating Environment into EU Policies - Cardiff - June 1998

The Cardiff process is designed to introduce a horizontal approach to environment policy by incorporating it into all Community policies.

Access to information, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters
2005/370/EC: Council Decision of 17 February 2005 on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Community, of the Convention on access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters

The European Union wishes to keep citizens informed about and involved in environmental matters and to improve the application of environmental legislation by approving the Convention on access to information, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters (Arhus Convention).

Access to justice in environmental matters
COM (2003) 624: Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on access to justice in environmental matters

This proposal establishes a set of minimum requirements on access to administrative and judicial procedures in environmental matters. It thus transposes the third pillar of the Århus Convention into Community law and the law of the Member States.

Accounting rules for greenhouse gases emitted or absorbed by forests and agriculture
Decision No 529/2013/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2013 on accounting rules on greenhouse gas emissions and removals resulting from activities relating to land use, land-use change and forestry and on information concerning actions relating to those activities
  • It is the first step towards incorporating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and removals from land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF)* into European Union (EU) GHG emission reduction commitments.
  • It obliges EU countries to prepare and maintain accounts of GHGs emitted or absorbed by forests, cropland and grazing land in an accurate, complete, consistent, comparable and transparent manner in line with the International Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC’s) Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories.
  • Making GHG accounting and reporting more complete will enhance the EU’s environmental integrity (i.e. ensure the resilience, diversity, and purity of its ecosystems).

KEY POINTS

  • In the current accounting period (2013-2020), there will be mandatory reporting and accounting by EU countries for GHG emissions/removals from:
    • afforestation (planting new forests);
    • deforestation (the destruction of forests);
    • reforestation (restocking existing forests); and
    • forest management.
  • EU countries must prepare for the accurate accounting of GHG emissions/removals from cropland and grazing land, which will start in 2021.
  • EU countries are also encouraged to report on how revegetation (the growth of vegetation on land other than forest) and the drainage or rewetting of wetlands affects GHG emissions/removals.

Decision No 529/2013/EU was amended by Decision (EU) 2016/374, which adds values for Croatia to the lists of reference levels for forest management, minimum values for the definition of forest and base year of emissions.

Action plan for an integrated maritime policy
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - An Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union {COM(2007) 574 final)} {SEC(2007) 1278} {SEC(2007) 1279} {SEC(2007) 1280} {SEC(2007) 1283}

In order to protect maritime resources, the European Commission plans to put in place an integrated, horizontal and cross-sector maritime policy, encompassing all aspects of our relationship with the seas and oceans. The management framework, the objectives and the instruments proposed by the Commission are developed in this Communication which is founded on the Lisbon and Gothenburg strategies.

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