Environment and climate change

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EU energy ministers had an exchange of views on the economic recovery after the Covid-19 crisis and the European Green Deal, with a focus on innovative energy solutions.

The European Commission adopted a comprehensive new Biodiversity Strategy to bring nature back into our lives and a Farm to Fork Strategy for a fair, healthy and environmentally friendly food system. The two strategies are mutually reinforcing, bringing together nature, farmers, business and consumers for jointly working towards a competitively sustainable future.

We take note of today's announcement by the UK Presidency that the COP26 will be postponed amid efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic, and that the Presidency will now consult on the most appropriate date to reschedule it. On behalf of the European Commission, I want to assure the UK COP26 Presidency, the UNFCCC, Italy as the host of the pre-COP and all of our international partners and civil society, of our strong commitment to making a success of COP26 and to delivering the European Green Deal which we announced in December 2019 in the interest of the health of our economy and our people.

In Europe and in the world, all minds are focused on actions to tackle the outbreak of the coronavirus and mitigate the effects of the crisis. The European Union works on all fronts to support these efforts. The latest information can be found on the dedicated European Commission website. We take this opportunity to thank all those who are working tirelessly to contain the pandemic and care for those in need, anywhere in the world.

Today, the Commission presents a proposal to enshrine in legislation the EU's political commitment to be climate neutral by 2050, to protect the planet and our people. The European Climate Law sets the 2050 target and the direction of travel for all EU policy, and gives predictability for public authorities, businesses and citizens. At the same time, the Commission is launching a public consultation on the future European Climate Pact. Through this consultation the public will be involved in co-designing this instrument.

The European Commission today announced an investment of €101.2 million for the latest projects under the LIFE programme for the Environment and Climate Action. The funding will support 10 large-scale environment and climate projects in nine Member States, helping Europe's transition to a sustainable economy and climate neutrality.

The Arctic is warming at more than twice the global average. The Mediterranean is facing decreasing precipitation and increasing temperatures. The warming of the Baltic, Black and North Seas is happening at a big pace. The situation is alarming. It is urgent to strengthen the global response to the climate emergency. High Representative Josep Borrell chaired the Foreign Affairs Council on 20 January, where Ministers discussed ways to step up climate diplomacy. The EU is determined to help raise global ambition and will use all tools at its disposal to tackle the climate challenge.

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Foreign ministers today discussed climate diplomacy and restated the political centrality of climate action for the European Union. Following the discussion, the Council adopted conclusions on climate diplomacy. This is a clear sign that in 2020 climate will be one of the priorities in the EU's external policy.

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The Council today adopted conclusions which provide political guidance on protecting and restoring the world's forests. Member states welcome the Commission's communication on stepping up EU action in this area.

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