Canada and EU to cooperate on environment

Ottawa, Canada (GLOBE-Net) – Canada has agreed upon a number of cooperative initiatives with the European Union following a Canada-EU summit in Berlin.

A statement was released by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, German Chancellor and current EU President Angela Merkel and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso. The statement covers three areas: peace and security, economic partnership, and energy and climate security, with a number of regulatory initiatives that could benefit or impact the environment sector.

On energy and climate change, the leaders agreed to establish a Canada-EU High-Level Dialogue on Energy for regular bilateral contacts on energy issues. The formal high level annual dialogue will complement the High-Level Dialogue on Environment, which will be strengthened to include future cooperation on climate change at an initial meeting later this year.

The talks will consider options for a post-2012 international climate change framework, including possible guiding principles such as broad participation, reflection of national circumstances, addressing adaptation and advancing markets and technology development and commercialization.

The governments will also pursue cooperation on their respective domestic climate change programmes and measures, and market mechanisms to address climate change, including emissions trading schemes. So far, the Canadian climate change plan has made no mention of linking to the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, but new discussions may provide an opportunity for a cross-Atlantic emissions trading market in the future.

The statement also includes a call to jointly promote “clean, secure and affordable energy technologies (including carbon dioxide capture and storage, near-zero emissions coal, ocean energy and second-generation biofuels), and best practices on energy efficiency in buildings, vehicles and appliances.”

Regulatory Cooperation

Along with the above priorities, Canada and the European Commission will also seek to improve regulatory efficiency and cooperation in a number of areas.

Among the measures outlined in the EC-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Roadmap 2007 – 2008 are:

  • Cooperation on chemicals regulation
    Exchange of data and assessment outcomes, possibly leading to a formal agreement regarding EU’s REACH legislation and Canada’s Chemicals Management Plan.

  • Electrical and Electronic Equipment and Waste (e-waste)
    Cooperation between EC and Canadian counterparts on life cycle approaches for the management of electrical and electronic products and waste including: regulating certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (EEE), environmental design, labelling of electrical and electronic equipment, collection and take-back practices, and material recovery and recycling practices for used and end-of-life products.

  • Organics equivalency
    Cooperation between the European Commission and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to obtain mutual equivalency for each respective Party’s organic regulations and regimes in order to facilitate trade of organic agricultural products.

  • Pesticides
    Increased cooperation between the European Commission and Health Canada in relation to the operational aspects of pesticide regulation.

  • Chemical Contaminants in Food
    Cooperation between DG Health and Consumer Protection and Health Canada regarding the management of chemical contaminants in food, including natural toxins.

Prime Minister Harper is in the German seaside town of Heiligendamm this week for the G8 summit. Five developing nations – China, India, Brazil, Russia and Mexico – are also on hand for discussions on energy and climate change that G8 President Merkel hopes will lead to the negotiation of a pact to replace the Kyoto Protocol after it expires in 2012. Canada may attempt to play the middle ground and bring the EU, the United States, and others together.

For More Information: Government of Canada

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