EU Council presidency events will be made climate neutral – German government
Clean Energy Wire
Germany’s government intends to make all of the events it hosts during its presidency of the EU Council climate neutral. The Federal Environment Ministry (BMU) said it will use "proven sustainability criteria" when planning the more than 400 events taking place between July 1 and December 31 this year. These will affect, for example, the choice of location, waste management, catering and travel arrangements, with a focus on the use of green electricity and vegetarian food. It will compensate for unavoidable greenhouse gas emissions by acquiring credits in UN-certified climate-protection projects.
The announcement came as the BMU and Federal Environment Agency (UBA) said it will continue to make all federal business trips by car and plane climate neutral. For 2019, this will entail purchasing emission credits for 347,507 tonnes of CO2. Environment minister Svenja Schulze said that the government would also rely "even more" on virtual meetings. "The technology is available, works, saves time and money, and protects the climate," she added.
The federal government saw a leap of more than 10 percent in its CO2 emissions from business trips between 2018 and 2019. The figure is expected to fall in 2020 due to the coronavirus crisis, but ministers are still keen to lead by example. As well as the European Council Presidency and federal business trip pledges, the ministry has said that from 2020 on, all of its emissions will be compensated to achieve climate neutrality.