Presentation on theme: "An impending clash between biodiversity and climate change policies in Europe: insurmountable problems or challenges and opportunities? Andrew Jackson."— Presentation transcript:
An impending clash between biodiversity and climate change policies in Europe: insurmountable problems or challenges and opportunities? Andrew Jackson Trinity College Dublin 27 May 2009
Key issue Member States have renewable energy targets. Current EU nature conservation law could necessitate the rejection of certain large renewable energy projects. Member States are aware of this. If a major project is not allowed to proceed, how will Member States react? Renegotiate nature conservation Directives? How should they react?
Recurring theme: divergent views Climate change and biodiversity loss are equally important and complementary We cannot halt biodiversity loss without addressing climate change, but it is equally impossible to tackle climate change without addressing biodiversity loss. It is therefore essential that climate change policy is fully complementary with biodiversity policy. (Message from Athens 2009) Combating climate change should take precedence (at least sometimes). Biodiversity policy should not stand in the way of major efforts to address climate change. It is socially unacceptable to be against wind turbines in your area - like not wearing your seatbelt or driving past a zebra crossing (Ed Miliband, UK Secretary of State for Climate Change and Energy, The Guardian, March 2009) Do Member States really accept this?
1. Climate change policy 20% share of renewable energies in EU energy consumption by 2020 (European Council 2007). Primary result: more and larger renewable energy projects in years ahead. Secondary result: conflicts between these projects and biodiversity. Derrybrien: [A]n ecological disaster (ECJ, C-215/06) – c.50,000 fish killed.
2. Biodiversity Policy: Natura 2000 Halt loss of biodiversity by Natura 2000 network of protected areas under the Habitats and Birds Directives. The largest coherent network of protected areas in the world (European Commission 2008a) Network goes far beyond what individual Member States had done at national level in this area (Krämer 2007, p.206) c.26,000 protected sites c.20% of EU territory
2. Biodiversity policy: law Source: European Commission 2008b Protection for Natura 2000 very strict (at supranational level); lots of Commission-led proceedings against Member States (Arts. 226 and 228 EC).
3. A test case for the future of EU nature conservation? Severn estuary Estuary has very high tidal range – unique tidal resource. Major contribution to RE target. Source: SDC 2007
4. The problem for the UK government Two Natura 2000 sites. Significant adverse effects (SDC 2007, p.131) Compensatory measures under the Habitats Directive may not be possible (SDC 2007, p.132). No legal way to proceed?
5. The problem for EU nature conservation UKs SDC heard from a number of stakeholders who believe that the [Habitats and Birds] Directives no longer reflect modern conservation priorities in light of the challenges presented by climate change (SDC 2007, p.130). 1.Reform the Directives x (? But support from other MS ?) 2.Break EU law – dont provide adequate compensation x 3.Seek progressive interpretation of Directives (But what if Commission disagrees?) River lamprey Twaite shadCommon redshankNorthern pintail
6. Research challenges and opportunities Research required in following areas: –NGOs: Likely pressure points – where are Natura 2000/renewable energy conflicts arising? –Social scientists: Political resolution – Member States views? –Lawyers: Better implementation and enforcement; drafting amendments/new legislation for discussion –Ecologists: Are large-scale compensatory measures feasible? –Engineers: Site-specific solutions; e.g. RSPBs Tidal Reef scheme offers, they say, an alternative to a barrage in the Severn: at less cost and with higher electricity output, while largely maintaining the habitats upon which birds depend and causing less harm to fish species (RSPB 2008).
References European Commission (2008a). Nature & Biodiversity. European Commission (2008b). Statistics on Environmental Infringements. European Council (2007). Presidency Conclusions of the Brussels European Council (8/9 March 2007). 7224/1/07. REV 1. Guardian (2009). Opposing wind farms should be socially taboo, says Ed Miliband. The Guardian, 24 March Heller, N.E. and Zavaleta, E.S. (2009). Biodiversity management in the face of climate change: A review of 22 years of recommendations. Biological Conservation 142(1): Hodas, D.R. (2008). Biodiversity and Climate Change Laws: A Failure to Communicate? In Jeffery, M.I., Firestone, J. and Bubna-Litic, K. (Eds.) Biodiversity, conservation, law + livelihoods: Bridging the North-South Divide. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK: Krämer, L. (2007). EC Environmental Law. Sixth Edition. Sweet & Maxwell, London. Message from Athens (2009). Draft outcome of conference, Biodiversity Protection Beyond 2010 – Priorities and options for future EU policy, held in Athens from April 2009: SDC (2007). Turning the Tide: Tidal Power in the UK.