Author Archive for Linda Teague

New EU Carbon-Trading Deal Struck Ahead of Bonn Climate Conference

EU lawmakers last night reached a provisional deal on the next phase of the EU Emission Trading System.

After four “trilogue” negotiating sessions involving the EU Council under its Estonian Presidency, the EU Commission and European Parliament, agreement was reached on the fourth phase of the ETS, for the period after 2020.

The system, which creates a market in permits for carbon emissions, is the cornerstone of the EU’s policy to combat climate change and its key tool for reducing greenhouse gas emissions cost-effectively.

It is the world’s first major carbon market and remains the biggest one.

The draft deal comes just ahead of the 23rd annual Conference of the Parties on climate change (COP23) which meets in Bonn next week.

As rapporteur, Julie Girling is the MEP steering the new ETS legislation through the Parliament.

Speaking in Brussels this morning, she said “I am pleased we were able to reach provisional agreement with the Estonian Presidency.

“Ahead of the European Parliament’s delegation to COP23, this sends an important signal to the market. The Parliament is committed to the integrity of the EU ETS and we are pleased to have achieved a strong outcome for Phase IV, giving certainty to operators and allowing stakeholders to push on to implement the goals of the Paris Agreement.

“The agreement will contribute to the EU’s long-term climate commitments and finds a good balance between strengthening via the Market Stability Reserve and appropriate carbon-leakage provisions for industry.

“This deal shows that the EU is serious about its climate leadership. It is never easy to agree between 28 Member States but the value of working together is worth much more than the sum of its parts. It is now essential that we continue to push forward to implement the Paris Agreement goals by building on this agreement.”

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Lets provide safe havens to tackle this “unspoken disgrace”

Campaigning MEP, Julie Girling, is calling on the European Parliament to investigate and put a stop to sexual abuse within the institution.

And she is encouragding fellow MEPs to offer “safe havens” to complainants by giving them employment while their cases are investigated.

Today she backed a cross-party resolution adopted by the Parliament in Strasbourg which condemned any predatory behaviour by MEPs and senior officials, called for politicians to ensure they acted as role models and urged the Parliament authorities to encourage victims to come forward with official complaints.

The demands follow a series of allegations in British and continental media relating to abuse and sexual harassment of junior staff by MEPs.

Mrs Girling, who represents the South West and Gibraltar and sits on the Parliament’s Committee for Women’s Rights and Equaliy, said: “It is time this issue was treated seriously.

“People affected clearly have not trusted the system enough to complain publicly. They have feared for their jobs, so kept their silence.

“I am encouraging MEPs to say they will offer safe-haven employment to people who have the courage to lodge complaints.

“This problem has been the unspoken disgrace of this place for too long. The machinery is there in the institutions to deal with complaints – but people have not come forward.

“Now people affected have begun speaking, we need to have formal investigations and action taken where necessary.

“Yesterday we heard from an MEP who has been a victim too.

“People need to be encouraged and cared for when they come forward. Where there is a climate of fear we must create one of trust .

“People must know that complaints will be treated seriously and the truth will out.”

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Banning glyphosate without evidence undermines the whole system

Banning popular weed killer glyphosate within five years and ignoring robust scientific evidence risks undermining the EU’s entire regulatory approval process for herbicides, warned ECR Environment Coordinator Julie Girling today.

Having only last year recommended that glyphosate be renewed for a period of seven years, and despite presenting no new scientific evidence that it is unsafe to use, the European Parliament has now decided that glyphosate should only be renewed for a maximum of five years. The European Commission is not legally obliged to act upon the Parliament’s recommendation, but the position of the plenary could affect decision-making in their Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed, which will seek to renew the authorisation of glyphosate at a meeting tomorrow.

Glyphosate is a weed killer that is widely used in commercial herbicides and is authorised for use in all EU Member States. As with all plant protection products, it is subject to strict regulation and use is only authorised on the basis that there are no harmful effects on human health or unacceptable risks to the environment.

Should the current authorisation lapse, products will have to be withdrawn from the market. This would have a severe impact on the availability of herbicides for users across the EU, including significant loss of yield for arable and horticultural crops.

Speaking after the vote today Mrs Girling, MEP for the South West and Gibraltar, said:

“We’ve put in place an approval system for chemicals that uses robust scientific evidence – this is the best way to protect people and the environment. Voting for a ban on a chemical such as glyphosate, when all the evidence shows it is safe, risks undermining the whole approval system and trust in it.”

“Ignoring evidence because politicians do not agree with it is not an option. Farmers across the EU rely on glyphosate and the uncertainty surrounding its renewal, which exploits emotional judgment for political gain, won’t go away if it’s only approved for a further five years.”

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NOTES:

The European Commission submitted the proposal for renewing glyphosate’s license for a further ten years based on the findings of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)’s Risk Assessment Committee (RAC) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)’s peer review which conclude that glyphosate should not be classified as a carcinogen. Their analysis was supported by experts from 27 Member States, national authorities outside the EU, such as Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and the Joint UN FAO-WHO Meeting on Pesticide Residues.

Agreement reached on cutting aviation emissions

EU lawmakers last night reached a deal that will continue to see international flights exempted from the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme until 2023.

Julie Girling, MEP for the South West and Gibraltar, was the European Parliament’s lead negotiator on the agreement and has welcomed the deal that will still see internal flights within the EU coming under the ETS and contributing more to emissions reductions on an annual basis.

She successfully proposed introducing a time limit for the exemption that will see it lapse on 31st December 2023. With the International Civil Aviation Authority due to introduce a global carbon offsetting scheme for the sector in 2021, the time limit will enable lawmakers to assess whether the global scheme makes an effective contribution to the objectives of the Paris Agreement and amend the provisions of the ETS accordingly.

Increases in air traffic will mean that CO2 emissions in 2050 are likely to be seven to ten times higher than in 1990, therefore it is crucial that action is taken to reduce their impact on climate change.

Mrs Girling said: “Maintaining the status quo on international flights was the sensible thing to do as we wait for more clarity on how the global scheme will address emissions from the aviation sector. Putting a time limit on the exemption will provide an opportunity to assess how effective the global scheme is at bringing the airline industry in line with the other heavier emitters falling under the EU’s emission trading scheme.”

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Brexit Negotiations Vote

Dear Constituents

I wanted to put forward my explanation for my recent vote on the non-binding resolution on the progress of the Brexit Negotiations. The headlines that you have seen do not reflect the whole resolution, much of the media coverage has reduced the vote to a zero-sum game – not something I recognise. I did not vote to prevent trade talks, in fact in my speech to the Parliament I clearly call on the Council to open up parallel negotiations on trade. I did however vote to acknowledge that not enough progress has been made between the two parties. An opinion which is shared by many on both sides of the Brexit debate.

The caricature of two embittered enemies – the UK and the EU – is as facile as it is unsustainable. For the future prosperity and peace of the continent good relations must be preserved, and I feel the European Parliament is uniquely placed to help facilitate this. Many conservatives, myself included, wish to follow the Prime Ministers Florence call for action and assist in moving the negotiations forward. It is patently obvious that the negotiations have not made sufficient progress and I sought to make that clear in my vote.

The European Parliament is particularly experienced in negotiation, consensus and compromise. What is more, the overwhelming majority of MEPs have a very calm and rational view of Brexit, recognising the need for cooperation and not hostility. I sincerely hope that the vote focuses the minds of negotiators, and that the European Parliament will be in a position to help drive more effective negotiations. This is how I will continue to represent the South-West, and this is the only way I can foresee a collegiate conclusion.

I want to stress that while I have always respected the democratic position of the British people, I have never agreed to silently acquiesce as our country heads towards a cliff edge, with no deal and a complete withdrawal – what Kenneth Clarke accurately called a calamitous act of national self-harm. The constituents of the South-West elected me to represent their best interests, not to preside over wanton economic self-harm.

I know many constituents do not agree with me but we still live in a democracy with the right to free speech. I cannot change my mind on an issue of such magnitude based on a party whip. I have always put my constituents and country first and will continue to do so. This does not make me undemocratic, indeed I believe I am doing my duty in protecting the interests of the 48%.

With regards

Julie

Girling: EU changes will threaten popular dieting products

September 13 2017

Europe-wide changes that threaten the viability of some popular dieting products will go ahead after Conservative attempts to have the proposals scrapped were narrowly defeated today.

Although a majority of MEPs backed an objection lodged by the party’s Food Safety Spokesman Julie Girling, the total was 31 votes short of the 376 absolute majority required.

Mrs Girling, MEP for the South West and Gibraltar said: “I am very disappointed at the partisan attitude to this vote. It’s a practical not a political issue. The changes will lead to adverse impacts on the taste and palatability of products, shorten their shelf life and increase prices for consumers, which defies all logic.”

Acting on advice from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the European Commission is increasing the minimum level of Essential Fatty Acids and protein in so-call total diet replacement (TDR) products. However, the EFSA admits scientific evidence for the rise in fatty acid content is incomplete and the new recommended protein levels exceed the organisation’s recommended minimum intake.

TDRs are available as meals, drinks and snacks. When the changes are implemented it is feared that people may opt for self-led diets, which may not meet basic nutritional standards and rarely prove successful, or buy similar products online from outside the EU that often do not meet the same high safety standards.

Mrs Girling added: “At a time when we are seeing obesity levels rise and pressure on public health services spiralling, something the Commission acknowledges, I cannot understand why products which help consumers lose weight and consequently lowers their chances of developing conditions such as type 2 diabetes should be subjected to even stricter guidelines.

“Members should understand the potential negative ramifications of this new legislation on both citizens and their respective national health services, but this was obviously not something that was taken into consideration and that is deeply disappointing.

“Dieting is hard enough to begin with. We should be promoting products that can help reverse the trend.”

Manufacturers will have five years to introduce the new regulations.

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MEPs back Girling plan for tackling aviation emissions

September 13 2017

Commercial flights in and out of Europe will continue to be exempt from the EU’s carbon emission controls, heading off a potential confrontation with the airline industry.

MEPs today approved a report by Julie Girling MEP which extends the exemption until 2021, when the International Civil Aviation Authority is due to introduce a global carbon offsetting scheme for the sector, capping emissions at 2020 levels.

In the meantime the EU’s aviation Emissions Trading Scheme will continue to cover only internal EU flights.

Mrs Girling, Conservative MEP for the South West and Gibraltar, is environment co-ordinator for the European Conservatives and Reformists Group in the European Parliament. She said: “It is sensible to maintain the status quo until there is further clarity on the ICAO scheme. At that point we will be able to judge whether it can deliver its objectives.

“The EU is already leading the way on tackling this issue and we must not let the pace slacken.”

Direct CO2 emissions from aviation account for three per cent of the EU total and this will increase significantly unless effective action is taken. If global aviation was a country it would rank among the world’s top ten carbon emitters.

When the EU attempted to impose its Emissions Trading Scheme on all flights in and out of the bloc in 2012, the US prepared laws making it illegal to pay the tariff and China threatened to withhold aircraft orders from Airbus.

The EU subsequently backed down and granted an exemption which is now up for renewal.

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On National Day we celebrate Gibraltar’s spirit

Conservative MEP Julie Girling is sending the people of Gibraltar a message of congratulation and support for National Day this weekend.

The celebrations on September 10 will commemorate Gibraltar’s first referendum of 1967 in which Gibraltarians were asked whether they wished to either pass under Spanish sovereignty or remain under British sovereignty.

Mrs Girling, who represents the South West and Gibraltar in the European Parliament, said: “I want to wish Gibraltar and her people a proud and joyous National Day. It will be a celebration of the people’s spirit.

“Fifty years have now passed since that momentous and historic decision. It was a powerful act of national self-determination and it is the unshakeable foundation on which Gibraltar has built its modern identity.

“If anything the will of Gibraltarians to keep British sovereignty has only become stronger. Of course there are problems ahead, not least from Britain’s departure from the European Union, but I firmly believe the spirit and will of Gibraltar’s people will win through.”

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MEPs back Girling plan for tackling aviation carbon emissions

International commercial flights should be granted a further exemption from the EU’s carbon emissions controls, but only until 2021, MEPs agreed today.

A report by Conservative Environment Spokesman Julie Girling MEP proposes that the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) be allowed more time to establish a global carbon offsetting scheme, which would freeze emissions at 2020 levels. The current exemption expires in March 2018.

She also calls for much greater transparency and information sharing from the ICAO to enable the EU to decide how its existing aviation emissions trading scheme (ETS), which covers flights within the European Economic Area, will link into the proposed new global initiative.

Mrs Girling, Conservative MEP for the South West and Gibraltar, said: ” It is sensible that we extend the exemption for international flights to and from the EU until there is greater clarity on the ICAO scheme. However, unlike the European Commission, I believe this exemption must be time limited so that we can be sure that the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation will deliver its objectives.

“Aviation contributes 1.3per cent of global CO2 emissions and that will increase significantly over the coming decades unless effective action is taken. The EU is already leading the way on tackling this issue and we must not let the pace slacken.

“As the rapporteur for EU ETS phase 4, I am well aware of the need for the aviation sector to do its fair share for emissions reduction.”

Her recommendations were approved today by members of the European Parliament’s Environment Committee and are expected to be considered by all MEPs in September.

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Girling helps deliver simpler energy labels on household products

MEP Julie Girling is backing new labelling rules to help customers choose low-energy “white goods” such as cookers and fridges.

The new rules making energy-labelling much more simple and clear were voted through by the European Parliament in Strasbourg today (Tuesday).

The existing system includes the rankings A+, A++ and A+++ – so a product with an A rating may be one of the most inefficient and expensive to run. The new labels will give ratings from A to G.

The legislation also introduces a publicly-available product database to help people make choices based on more than just purchase cost. It is anticipated that these new calculations can be factored into price-comparison websites and apps.

Mrs Girling, Conservative MEP for the South West and Gibraltar, said: “The current system is pretty opaque. It confuses shoppers, while manufacturers who take care to produce efficient devices don’t get the clear recognition they deserve.

“The new regime will make it far easier for consumers to make cleaner, greener, cheaper choices. At present it is easy to think you are doing well by buying a cheap fridge, but then to find the saving quickly disappears in extra energy costs.”

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