Other Christmas news more briefly still

Energy, climate, EU enlargement, trade, research, marine protection, all on the agenda

EU energy consumption falls 1% in 1997

Efforts to stabilise EU carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have already "borne fruit", according to new figures on 1997 energy consumption levels released today by the EU statistical office Eurostat. These show that in 1997, for the first time, total EU energy consumption lagged behind the growth of EU GDP, which increased by 2.6%.

Contacts: Eurostat

EU "could do better" on climate, claims WWF

EU policies to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are not working to their full potential, according to a study released last week by environmental group World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The study analyses the effect and implementation of policies on renewable energy, combined heat and power (CHP), energy efficiency of electrical appliances, car fuel efficiency, industry energy efficiency and fuel taxation.

Contacts: WWF

EU enlargement "must promote sustainability"

Environmental protection and sustainable development principles must be central to the EU enlargement process, according to the European Consultative Forum on the Environment and Sustainable Development (ECFESD). The EU advisory body said that the accession process could provide a "significant opportunity" for the EU to review its environmental objectives and implementation of policy instruments.

Contacts: ECFESD

NGOs oppose transatlantic trade treaty

Over 20 environmental groups from the EU and the USA have joined forces to fight against the planned transatlantic economic partnership, designed to reduce barriers to mutual trade and investment (ENDS Daily 9 November). A forum for discussion between the NGOs and the EU will be launched in Bonn in February.

Contacts: European Environmental Bureau

More Swedish environmental research funds urged

Sweden needs to allocate an extra SKr110m (Ecu11.6m) per year to research projects in order to meet its environmental policy objectives, the Swedish environmental protection agency (EPA) said today. More funding is urgently needed for research into the link between airborne polluting emissions and health, biodiversity and health hazards in urban areas, the EPA claims.

Contacts: Swedish EPA

EU civil protection, marine pollution plans outlined

The European Commission has approved action programmes and funding for civil protection and marine pollution for the period 2000-2004. The civil protection programme will build on former years' activities to improve response and cooperation in times of natural disaster and environmental emergencies, with an annual Ecu2m budget. The accidental marine pollution programme will receive Ecu1m annually, in particular to modernise information systems.

Contacts: European Commission

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