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2019:

November 2019

The Spotlight is on Environment


MEET THE COMMITTEE

VALERIIA - UKRAINE, currently a first year LLB student. My goal in the NEXUS Magazine Committee is to tell readers about the changes in modern legal systems.

TAHARA - GERMANY, currently a first yeat LLB student. My goal in the NEXUS Magazine Committee is to shed light on how the law shapes people’s morals, behaviour, and our modern world.

ELENA - BULGARIA, currently a second year LLB student. In this committee I strive to inform the readers about the most current legal developments.

FRANZISKA - GERMANY, currently a first year LLB student. I joined the NEXUS Magazine as I think writing is an important instrument to reach people, inform them and raise awareness on relevant topics.

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF ELENA NAYDENOVA CONTRIBUTING WRITERS ELENA NAYDENOVA FRANZISKA BIRTH TAHARA KAMARA VALERIIA KORNILOVA KYRILL RYABTSEV ANDREA BERTI CREATIVE DIRECTION ELENA NAYDENOVA VANESA BORISOVA


Dear Reader,

CONTENTS 3 NEXUS BOARD 19/20 4 OPINION PIECES 7 SINGLE USE PLASTIC BAN 10 LEGAL LIABILITY FOR THE POLLUTION OF THE SEAS AND OCEANS BY PLASTIC WASTE 14 BURNING FORESTS 17 EU ETS 21 NATURA 2000 26 THE DUTCH TRACTOR STRIKE

Environmental protection has been on everyone’s minds for some time now. States promise each other, every chance they get, to do better. International organisations, like the United Nations and the European Union, have also joined the promise premise. What actually obliges all these entities to act on their promises, however, is a specialized, still developing and gaining traction, area of law – Environmental law. Because of its immense relevance at present, our team chose this topic for our first issue for the academic 2019/2020. This has never been a more relevant topic than now especially with the aftermath of the UN Climate Change Summit in September and the long seemingly never-ending string of natural disasters like the forest fires in the Amazon and Siberia. All of these events and more pushed society into being more involved in environmental problems and their day-to-day solutions than ever before. Environmental protection can be found in the slightest changes of routines and national laws. In the last several years more and more people now know why we have to recycle and actually go through with it without question. Electro cars are the new Ferraris. States are reducing speed limits or blocking of town areas for cars in order to minimize CO2 emissions from vehicles. Students are protesting every Friday to prevent further worsening of the climate because this is not just a political question any more, but one that involves us all and our collective future. All of these facts show that society is now all for a policy that always takes into consideration the environment. Law always has to reflect what the public finds important to regulate and protect. Thus, the question of how does law figure into all this and how does it deal violations of environmental protection arises. This issue will focus on particular environmental problems and how law regulates them and what particular legal mechanisms and schemes have the states and international organisations (like the EU) undertaken to keep their obligations under the Paris Agreements and the Kyoto Protocols and other relevant international environmental law legislation. In this magazine, you will find articles on the enormous plastic waste islands in the oceans and what international and regional legal instruments have been implemented in order to regulate their formation; a report on the situation concerning the fires in Siberia and the Amazon; an analysis on the EU ETS mechanism and the Natura 2000 framework as well as a more specific article on the recent Dutch farmers protests. Please feel free to contact us at magazinecommittee.nexus@gmail. com if you have any queries, comments or suggestions. We are always happy to hear from you! Best regards and I hope you enjoy reading our issue as much as we enjoyed writing and editing it, Elena Naydenova Editor-in-Chief and Chair of the Nexus Magazine Committee


MEET THE NEXUS 2019/2020 BOARD

The Vision for Nexus We aim to foster an inclusive environment within our association, so that we can learn from one another and grow together as a group. The vision our board has for Nexus is that it will have a relaxed atmosphere; and that it can be a place for students to escape the stressful world of law assignments and exams.

We made a significant step forward in this regard by implementing our re-usable coffee cup initiative, in partnership with Starbucks. We know that law students have a strong connection to coffee, and we hope that this move towards sustainability will help create a more ‘green’ consumption practice amongst our faculty.

One of the important considerations for us in terms of the environment is our movement towards sustainability.

On behalf of the 11th Board

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OPINION

Why is Environmental Protection so relevant right now? Our committee members wanted to express why environmental protection and the laws governing it, both regional and international, are so important in the current situation. They also wish to shed light on what the main issues are and how regular citizens can contribute to their solutions. In recent years, implementing environmental laws has become an important topic of debate when regarding the pace at which the environment is deteriorating. With the global environmental protests, more awareness is being raised by shedding light on the urgency of global warming, which is crucial in order to stabilise the future of our planet. Some countries have adopted measures in order to reduce the effects of global warming by reducing plastic and promoting more sustainable products. Nevertheless, emissions of fossil fuels, the main contributor to air pollution, have been difficult to reduce because the industrial sector is of high importance in every country, thus it is very hard to regulate on an intergovernmental level. Due to the fact that it is a major source of national income and jobs, not a lot of emphasis has been placed on this with regard to governmental policies. Many countries still do not view environmental law as the most important policy and remain focused on economic and political issues, which in turn aids the greenhouse gases to continuously take effect and endanger human health, water pollution and air quality. Therefore, it is crucial for countries to act in the upcoming years in order to build a sustainable future by implementing stricter policies in order to combat climate change. Tahara Kamara NOVEMBER 2019 4


It has been evident, for many years now, that our way of living and the way we are exploiting this planet have severe consequences on the environment and that a change in our behaviour is needed. Recently, the topic is gaining more and more attention in the media, as a result of politicians’ and citizens’ increasing focus on the numerous environmental problems our conduct is causing. Goals to combat climate change were therefore discussed and stipulated in the Paris Agreement in 2016 and Greta Thunberg’s movement Friday’s For Future is raising awareness of the urgent matter of climate change worldwide. The next necessary step now is that action has to be taken in order to combat environmental problems. The most significant change, in the end, could be reached through laws restricting certain behaviour but also providing more tolerable alternatives. These rules would bind the state just as well as companies and individuals to treat the environment in a more sustainable way. However, in practise, succeeding in getting these laws approved in parliament is a political problem. Apart from participating in the elections for the EU parliament, we might not be able to directly influence the legislative process on the regulation of pollution or climate change, but that does not free us from our responsibility to act on what is in our power concerning sustainability. It is a fundamental mistake to underestimate the positive impact every one of us can have. There are so many small things that we can do in order to reduce the damage we are causing for the environment at least to a small degree. Bringing reusable cups and bottles, for example, switching off the light when leaving the room, taking our bike instead of the car, using cloth bags for shopping and not rapidly flying to Mallorca for a weekend trip just because we found a cheap offer. We have to be aware of the fact that small changes in our views and behaviour do have a major impact if only more people think the same way. It is for every one of us to now stop choosing the easiest and most comfortable way of living and start acting responsibly towards our own environment. Franziska Birth

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The whole world is now on the periphery of a global environmental crisis. Despite the entrance into force of numerous conventions and new laws towards the ecological development such as the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL 73/78), Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Waste and Other Matter (1972) and others, despite the will to develop solutions to minimize and control plastic waste pollution, as well as the introduction of plastic recycling schemes, contributing to the development of a wastefree economy, the ecological situation worsens every day. The new laws do not bind different governments, companies and private individuals. That is where the problem lies. Laws on environment are advisory in nature, which makes them ineffective and non-binding. In order to quickly and radically solve the problem, the individual responsibility and legal liability for the illegal disposal of plastic should be ratified by the international community and entered into force in every country for effective control. This point of view will be argued in the article: “Legal liability for the pollution of the seas and oceans by plastic waste�, add the page later. Valeriia Kornilova

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ARTICLE

Source: Phillipinebeaches.org

BAN ON SINGLE-USE PLASTIC ITEMS: More Than a Drop in The Ocean? What problem are we facing? The average EU citizen produces 31 kg of plastic waste every year. Even though recycling systems exist among the EU Member States, in reality only a fraction of the plastic waste gets recycled. Another part is used for energy recovery through incineration, which creates a process that emits 400 million tonnes CO2 globally per year.1 However, the major part of plastic waste is kept in landfills within the EU itself or is transported 1 to other parts of the world, where it will probably need up to 1000 years to fully

decompose.2 A very large portion of the produced plastic up until now still exists in some form or another on Earth, however, they do not only remain on land. Scientists estimate that eight million tonnes (roughly the weight of four million cars) of plastic waste enter our oceans worldwide annually.3 Even though “only” a share of 150 000 tonnes comes from European waters, the EU contributes a far greater amount to the 8 million tonnes. as the Member States also export waste to countries like China4. All kinds of plastic waste can be found in the seas but single-use packaging makes up a particularly large

1 European parliament, ‘Plastic waste and recycling in the EU: facts and figures ‘ (European Parliament, 9 December 2018). 2 ‘The Decomposition of Waste in Landfills’ (The balance - small business). 3 ‘A Guide to Plastic in the Ocean’ (National Ocean Service 4 ‘EU waste plastics exports down a quarter in 2018’ (EUWID Recycling and waste management, 8 March 2019)

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part of what is found at the European plastic in October 2018. After negotiacoasts. tions between the Parliament and the Council, a provisional agreement was What are the consequences of the reached a month later. The Council forplastic pollution? mally adopted the new rule in May 2019 as the final step of the legislative proceFloating in the ocean, plastic litter results dure was concluded.6 From 2021 onin the death of sea birds, turtles, mam- wards, the aforementioned plastic items mals and fish. Seagulls, for example, get shall be banned from the EU market. tangled up in plastic bags and suffocate while seals mistake plastic packaging What does that mean exactly for for food, fill their stomachs with it and Member States? then starve to death as they are no longer able to ingest actual food. Moreover, The rules of the single-use plastic ban are the plastic breaks down into microscop- stipulated in a directive. Based on one of ic parts, roughly the 5mm in diameter, the founding principles of the Union, that after a certain time period that gets eat- of subsidiarity, the EU aims not to impose en by fish, who mistake it for plankton. strict, pre-set regulations on the Member These fish later end up on our plates States but to ensure that they have enough and in the end affect our own health. leeway to take their measures that are only guided by secondary Union legislation. Specifically, the EU uses directives, which Ban on single-use plastic are acts of the European Parliament that The EU addressed the problem of plastic determine a certain goal but leave the pollution by introducing the idea of a ban specific way of how to achieve it up to the on single-use plastic among the EU Mem- Member States. Thus, approaches differ ber States. In May 2018, the EU Com- from country to country but the result mission, having the right of initiative, is the same: banning single-use plasproposed a ban that includes the 10 most tic from the market. The Member States commonly found single-use plastic items have to now implement legislation to acon European beaches that amount to half complish that aim. In practise, such laws of all the plastic marine litter. Straws, could be in the form of marketing restriccotton buds attached to plastic sticks, tions or higher taxes on certain products. coffee stirrers, balloon holders, plastic Any measures, however, would still be plates and cutlery are all supposed to be subject to the proportionality principle. replaced with biodegradable alternatives. In the text of the Directive on the reIn the future, they could consist, for ex- duction of the impact of certain plasample, of maize starch, bamboo or paper.5 tic products on the environment, The draft of the ban was presented to the standard values and guidelines for European Parliament, whose members tional laws are laid down in detail. voted in favour of the ban of single-use 5 European Commission, ‘European Parliament votes for single-use plastics ban’ (European Commission, 18 January 2018). 6 Council of the EU ‘Council adopts ban on single-use plastics ‘ (Consilium, 21 May 2019).

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It states, for example, that the national legislation that a Member State chooses to implement shall still have to comply with EU food law to ensure that hygiene and safety in regards to food are not compromised.7 Furthermore, Member States shall lay down rules on penalties applicable to infringements of the national provisions aiming at the goals of the plastic ban directive.8 In one of the Directive’s provisions, it is acknowledged that a sufficient time is needed for the development of a harmonised standard, in order to enable the producers to adapt their production process to the new product design requirements.9 Thus, even the Union legislation envisions it will take some time until national laws are properly implemented and single-use plastic items will disappear from the EU market.

factories that discharge their waste in the oceans accountable for their actions; and monitoring the tossing of plastic items overboard from vessels more strictly. Nevertheless, the Directive will ban 10 plastic items that are bought and used by people on a daily basis in large quantities, therefore a great amount of plastic waste will indeed be reduced. Once implemented on a national level, the ban will be noticeable in our everyday lives. By regularly being reminded that we are facing a major problem due to plastic pollution by, for example, getting wooden cutlery when ordering take-away food, we become more aware of our consumption behaviour in general and start acting accordingly to our increased consciousness. FRANZISKA BIRTH

Source: thetimes.co.uk

So, is it more than a drop in the ocean? Naturally, the global problem of ocean pollution is not even close to being solved by the Directive on single-use plastic. In the future, new approaches will be needed, such as reducing the production of other plastic items; holding 7 Directive 2019/904 of 5 June 2019 on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment [2019] OJ L 155/1, art 11. 8 Directive 2019/904 of 5 June 2019 on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment [2019] OJ L 155/1, art 1 para 31. 9 Directive 2019/904 of 5 June 2019 on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment [2019] OJ L 155/1, art 1 para 17.

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Legal liability for the pollution of the seas and oceans by plastic waste Plastic pollution is a global problem which affects every aspect of our lives. It can be found everywhere: from the deepest ocean points to the bare water surface; from the equator to the poles. The situation becomes more aggravated with the increasing amount of plastic which forms huge garbage islands in oceans. Pollution of the marine environment means the introduction, directly or indirectly, of substances or energy into the marine environment by man, including estuaries, which are capable of leading to harmful effects such as damage to living resources and sea life, danger to human health, interference with activities at sea, including fishing and other legitimate uses of seawater. The United Nations General Assembly together with the heads of countries state that all of humanity bears collective responsibility for the state of oceans. However, despite the active struggle with plastic pollution, which is regulated through

conventions such as the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL 73/78), its number only increases. This proves that these measures taken by the international community to cope with the increasing amount of the “garbage islands� are insufficient. That is why the problem of plastic pollution in the world ocean should be solved at the legislative level. A legislative mechanism of strict regulation is needed, which will be better able to hold individuals responsible for the violations. Measures taken to combat environmental crisis The dramatic amount of the elimination and prevention of future disposals is discussed by many countries and organizations. . A number of multilateral regional agreements and international conventions have been adopted to protect the oceans. NOVEMBER 2019 10


As seen in the 2018 UN reports, the UN Environment Assembly has drawn up a 10-step roadmap for governments that are looking to adopt new similar protective measures or improve their current ones. The steps are based on the experiences of 60 countries around the globe and include: targeting the most problematic single-use plastics, accessing the potential social and economic impact, identifying and engaging key stakeholders, promoting alternatives, enforcing measures effectively and monitoring and adjusting the chosen measure if necessary.1 This roadmap was adopted by over 400 multinational organisations committed to eliminating problematic and unnecessary plastic packaging, and innovating so that all plastic packaging is 100% reusable, recyclable, or compostable, and can be safely and easily circulated without becoming waste.2 On July 2019 at the G20 meeting, the world leaders agreed to take an active part in forming a large-scale campaign to reduce ocean plastic pollution. The EU takes one of the leading positions in protecting the oceans from a deluge of plastic pollution by banning single-use plastic such as food and beverage containers,3 while many summits were organized in other parts of the world such as the East Asia Summit, consisting of members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, to combat the same global problem. However, the adoption of numerous conventions on environmental protection

in marine areas such as the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Waste and Other Matters (1972) does not completely solve the dangerous and global issue of the uncontrolled disposal of non-degradable materials. Despite the measures taken by the international community, the surveys of marine litter by UNEP’s Global Programme for Action (GPA), and other bodies, noted steadily increasing levels of garbage accumulating at sea and on coastlines.4 To make matters worse, despite the collectively adopted rules by intergovernmental organizations such as the United Nations, some countries ignore new regulations on waste disposal. For example, in 2017 the government of the State of Michigan in the US enacted a law prohibiting local governments from regulating or restricting the use of disposable plastic items, including plastic bags, Styrofoam containers and other forms of plastic packaging. In other states such as Idaho, Arizona and Missouri, ‘bans on banning’ disposable plastics have been introduced, allegedly in an attempt to protect the industry.5 These examples show that if someone freely violates the norms adopted by the international community in favour of private corporations, then the conclusion can be followed that these conventions and regulations do not bind the individual to be responsible for their breaches.

1 United Nations environment programme, ‘SINGLE-USE PLASTICS: A Roadmap for Sustainability’ (UNEP, 2018) <https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/25496/singleUsePlastic_sustainability.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y>. 2 Jaap Bleijenberg, ‘New report shows global progress towards eliminating plastic pollution’ (Open Access Government, 25 October 2019) <https://www.openaccessgovernment.org/eliminate-plastic-pollution/76612/>. 3 Brian Clark Howard and others, ‘A running list of action on plastic pollution’ (NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, 10 JUNE 2019) <https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2018/07/ocean-plastic-pollution-solutions/> 4 Robin Warner, Protecting the Oceans Beyond National Jurisdiction (Martinus Nijhoff publishers 2009) 134 5 Chelsea Harvey, ‘The US state that banned banning plastic bags’ (Independent, 2 January 2017) <https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/michigan-the-us-state-that-just-banned-banning-plastic-bags-a7505611.html>

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Source: Adapted from Geyer, Jambeck, and Law, 2017

Why are all these decisions and conventions ineffective? Because they are advisory in nature and do not enforce legal responsibility for polluting with plastic garbage. Individuals such as heads of governments, owners of huge industries and corporations, and physical persons who carelessly dispose plastic into marine waters should be held responsible at the legislative level through strengthening personal legal responsibility for violating the rules in the field of plastic pollution at national criminal and administrative judicial level. An example of a successful operation is the INTERPOL Operation 30 Days of Action conducted in June 2017, in which an estimated 55,000 tonnes of plastic waste involved in illicit waste activities was detected.6 In this operation, the police reported 483 individuals and 264 companies for waste crimes and violations. Therefore, by conducting this operation, INTERPOL did not only find the facts of marine pollution, but also particularly identified the perpetra-

tors; thus, ensuring the responsibility of persons who violate the requirements for the protection of the marine environment and its components. In this case, the marine environment is an object of the crime and an instrument of committing an illegal act. There is a causal relationship between the wrongful act and the occurrence of dangerous consequences. The danger of plastic lies in the fact that fish and seabirds mistake plastic waste for food, causing harmful substances contained in it to accumulate in the animalsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; tissue. Consequentially, these substances can end up in food consumed by humans, thus it is damaging of human health which is a criminal offence. Undoubtedly, legal liability is one of the main instruments for the protection of the marine environment. The massive and uncontrolled ocean pollution though the disposal of plastic starts from the land. Therefore, the limits of responsibility for pollution of the oceans by plastic debris from the land should be significantly expanded. The concept of connecting the ocean with the land should be legislated. The basis and motive of the purposes of this crime can be usually mercenary in nature, as the purpose of such crimes is to make a profit or to get rid of additional costs. For example, when garbage is dumped into the aquatic environment from the shore, the person saves themselves the cost of utilization. Therefore, there must be coercive methods such as high fines and imprisonment to ensure that the individual does not have opportunities for illegal disposal. For example, Singapore shows how high fines for throwing garbage in the wrong place radically changed the mentality of citizens. The pecuniary charge is so high

6 Interpol, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Pollution Crimeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; (INTERPOL, 2019) <https://www.interpol.int/Crimes/Environmental-crime/Pollution-crime>

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Source: theguardian.com

that the locals are considered the most exemplary guardians of purity in the world.7 The cleanliness is achieved not because Singapore’s streets are often cleaned, but because of the huge fines for disposal. Therefore, only through punitive measures, the desired result of the reduction of plastic waste can be achieved. It is necessary to fight the existing economic model as the production of plastic products and packaging unreasonably increases. Despite the sufficiently developed system of protection of the marine environment from the negative impact of various activities, those guilty of encroaching on it can evade criminal responsibility. An effective implementation of international law into national criminal administrative law along with the observance of the international community can reach the improvement of legislation on the application of legal liability for marine pollution.

To summarize, global problems require global solutions. Nowadays, the main method of combating ocean pollution caused by plastic is prevention and persuasion. Of course, legal liability is only one of the essential legal instruments used to protect the resources of the sea, but improving its effectiveness further is necessary. That is why there has to be a quick and radical action to solve the problem, through punitive regulation and strengthening the powers of law enforcement agencies, courts and prosecutors in identifying, investigating and considering the cases on plastic marine pollution. VALERIIA KORNILOVA

7 Irina Ilyina, ‘How are people fined for garbage in different countries of the world’ (Komsomolskaya Pravda, 2019) <https://www.kp.ru/putevoditel/spetsproekty/shtrafy-za-vybros-musora/>

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BURNING FORESTS: Environment in danger! An overall evaluation ‘A World of Fire’,1 the heading of an article in the New York Times, offers an immediate overview of this year’s fire alerts. In August 2019, the Amazon, Siberia, Indonesia and Central Africa were on fire. Vast areas of rainforest, savanna and boreal forest have burned widely during this year, having been dried out by record-breaking high temperatures. In Congo, more than 400 000 fires have been recorded by Global Forest Watch. In South-East Asia, palm oil trade is the main cause of deforestation, where fire is used to remove old plants that can’t be used any more. The NASA Fire Information for Resource Management System (FIRMS) detected 35 000 fires. Furthermore, the expanding plantations are also endangering areas of protected forest. In the Amazon basin, the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) assessed that about 9 000 km2 of forest have been scorched; only in the Brazilian sector, the number of fires exceeds 40 000. Forested lands have always been cleared for farming and graz-

Source: www.themoscowtimes.com

ing, but this year, the blazes were unmanageable. On the other side of the world, the Russian Federal Forestry Agency (ФБУ) reported almost 30 000 km2 of affected land in Siberia, approximately the entire size of Belgium, and the NASA satellite Copernicus recorded a cloud of smoke that could cover the whole European continent reaching North America.

Source: www.baomoi.com

Jair Bolsonaro: a doubtful move On 24-26 August 2019, the G7 met in Biarritz. French President Emmanuel Macron insisted on immediate intervention in the Amazon, calling it an

1 Kendra Pierre-Louis, ‘The Amazon, Siberia, Indonesia: A World of Fire’ The New York Times (28 August 2019) 2 Jack Goodman and Olga Robinson, ‘How Bad Are Forest Fires This Year?’ BBC News (19 September 2019).

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international priority. All the present leaders agreed on contributing more than $20 million as an aid to extinguish the fires in the Amazon rainforest.3 On social media, however; the attitude of Macron triggered a violent reaction from Jair Bolsonaro. The President of Brazil rejected the G7 aid and accused France of ‘colonialist behaviour’. Days later, the political discussion shifted into a personal fight that drastically deteriogated diplomatic relations between France and Brazil. On Twitter, Donald Trump praised Bolsonaro, recognizing his ‘very hard work on the Amazon fires’, despite the dissenting opinion of the G7. The President of Brazil is strongly criticized by environmentalists for his intention to open part of the protected forest to logging, farming and mining, which was already clear before his election in 2018.4 The conduct of Bolsonaro’s government against the environment concerning Europe as well; Germany and Norway have suspended the aid to the Amazonian Fund for environmental law enforcement, deemed useless without the active help of Brazil. Furthermore, an international trade deal concluded in July between the European Union and the Mercosur (composed of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay), will probably not be ratified if the Amazon continues to be subjected to economic exploitation.

legislation allows provincial authorities to ignore the fires if the damage is inferior to the eventual cost of extinguishing them. On July 29, the governor of the Krasnoyarsk region, Alexander Uss, declared that fire “a common natural phenomenon, to fight with which it is meaningless, but somewhere, perhaps even harmful”.5 As a consequence, when the authorities actually realised the real size the area affected by the fires, the situation was already out of their control. On 1 August 2019, the Russian agency for aerial forest protection stated that most of the fires would be left to burn themselves out, as flames were not threatening human settlements or economic facilities. Firefighters were only working to extinguish less than 4% of the territory engulfed by flames.6 A state of emergency was declared in five regions and the Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the army to help fight what Greenpeace called an ‘ecological catastrophe’. Donald Trump offered American help to fight the fires, opening a diplomatic relationship with the Kremlin. In a personal phone call on July 31, Vladimir Putin stated he would accept the offer if necessary and agreed to mend the ties between the two countries. A national petition, launched by Greenpeace Russia and signed by more than 400.000 citizens, has forced the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to take action Inextinguishable fires in Siberia in order to reduce the ‘zones of control’, where the fires can be legally ignored, and In July, thousands of fires covered many to increase the forest protection budget.7 cities in Siberia with smoke. Russian 3 Manuela Andreoni, ‘Brazil Angrily Rejects Millions in Amazon Aid Pledged at G7, Then Accepts British Aid’ The New York Times (27 August 2019). 4 Letícia Casado and Ernesto Londoño, ‘Under Brazil’s Far-Right Leader, Amazon Protections Slashed and Forests Fall’ The New York Times (28 July 2019). 5 Rachael Kennedy, ‘“Low Chance” Siberia Wildfires Will Be Brought under Control: Expert’ (euronews, 6 August 2019). 6 Ivan Nechepurenko, ‘Russia Sends Military Planes to Fight Wildfires in Siberia’ The New York Times (1 August 2019). 7 ‘Life in the Siberian Haze’ (Greenpeace International) <https://www.greenpeace.org/international/story/23919/russian-wildfires-blog-siberian-haze>.

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Source: www.dw.com

An environmental treaty in danger The last major Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, released in October, shows that it is extremely difficult to maintain the obligation stemming from the Paris Agreements to limit global climate change to 1.5 degrees Celsius in comparison to the preindustrial temperatures. The world would have to halve emissions before 2030, to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 and become carbon-negative thereafter. Furthermore, the managing of the fires arises uncertainties upon the enforcement of Article 5 of the Paris Agreements, in which parties â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;should take action to conserve and enhance sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases, included forestsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. The number of fire alerts recorded this year does not exceed the average of the last decade, but today, the climate conditions reduce the efficiency of fire-fighting efforts. Dry vegetation, strong winds and late rain season are the natural factors, combined with a rising number of human lighted fires.

In many countries, such as Russia and Brazil, national law is not enforcing international environmental obligations and fire is still the leading cause of deforestation. ANDREA BERTI

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Is the EU’s main environmental mechanism going sideways: What is the ETS’s current status? As 2020, and with it the environmental goal to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions by 20% compared to 1990, approaches all looks at the main instruments the Union uses to reach those goals. One of the cornerstones of the EU’s environmental policy to fight against climate change is the Emission Trading Scheme (ETS).1 Its aim is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in a cost-effective way by creating a carbon market based on the ‘cap and trade’ principle. The idea is to set a cap on the total amount of greenhouse gasses emitted in the EU and for this cap to be reduced gradually do that the emissions are also reduced. Within the cap, companies get or buy emission allowances (EUAs) from Member States which they can later trade amongst themselves. This trade ensures that emissions are reduced where it costs least to do so and promote investment in green technologies. This scheme merged in a way the environmental principle of ‘the polluter pays’ with competition law, or at least that was the idea. In this article I will explore whether the EU ETS is functioning as it should and whether even with its recent amendments it can keep up with the newest developments in the EU Member States’ environmental policies.

What does the EU ETS entail? In 2005 the Kyoto Accords entered into force. The International agreement signed in 1997 was meant to oblige its signatories to implement measures to reduce carbon emissions through, among others, an emission allowance trading scheme. The first steps of setting up the EU ETS were taken in 2003 with the adoption of the EU ETS Directive. The scheme itself was launched in 2005. Phase I was scheduled for the period 2005 – 2007 and was considered a ‘learning by doing’ phase. The EUAs were given to companies for free with a penalty for non-compliance of €40 per tonne. But there wasn’t enough date about how many EUAs would be needed and the caps were set on the basis of estimates. This led to excess allowances which the businesses kept in supply after 2007, i.e. for Phase II, essentially dropping the price of allowances to 0. However, this phase succeeded in setting a price for carbon, establishing the trade Unionwide and setting up the infrastructure to monitor, report and verify emissions.2 Phase II (2008-2012) corresponded with the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, therefore there were concrete emission reduction goals to meet.

1 Commission, ‘EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS)’ (Climate Action - European Commission, 23 November 2016) <https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/ets_en> accessed 2 Commission, ‘Phases 1 and 2 (2005-2012)’ (Climate Action - European Commission, 23 November 2016) <https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/ets/pre2013_en>


This period is considered the ‘mature’ phase, where 3 new countries joined the scheme (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway), not all EUAs were given away for free, the penalty fee was raised to €100 per tonne, a Union transaction registry replaced national ones and the aviation sector was added to the ETS. Phase III (2013 – 2020) is the currently running phase. Very soon the Commission will have to give its report on what was achieved since its start. Their estimate is that in 2020 emissions from the sectors covered by the ETS will be 21% lower then 2005, i.e. when it started. However, as was already said this is just an estimate and in the coming months it going to become clear whether it was actually correct. Phase III’s aims were different with the previous periods to begin with but the main differences concern: the introduction of a single Union-wide cap on emissions instead of separate national ones and auctioning the EUAs instead of giving them away for free and where they have to be given away, it is done so according to harmonized rules. The envisioned following period is Phase IV (2021 – 2030). It was added to the legislative framework in 2018 as a device to the achieve the EU’s 2030 emission reduction goals and also as implementation of the Paris Agreements obligations. Is the EU ETS running as smoothly as it should be? After reviewing the specifics of the ETS in its phases, one can’t help but wonder what criticisms this mechanism has met throughout the years.

First of all, let’s revisit the fact that the ETS was introduced in the context of the Kyoto Protocols, which imagined a welloiled and running global carbon market. This idea didn’t fail per say, but considering that the EU ETS is the largest carbon market that’s running, it is safe to say that the global scale of things is not very well developed. Regardless, in the context of a successful global market, the heavy industries argued that there would be ‘carbon leakage’, i.e. the European companies that produce carbon-intensive products would be at a disadvantage, worldwide wise, because of the EUAs’ prices increasing production costs and would move their production to other territories. Consequentially, this would mean that all the environmental benefits of the scheme would be cancelled because the emission reductions in the EU would be compensated by increased emissions in other parts of the world. If you would recall from the beginning of this article, the Commission imagined this mechanism as a tool to increase competitiveness, thus they couldn’t let this happen. Their solution was to grant the heavy industry companies free EUAs, which is what happened in all the phases until now. However, as was already pointed out the global carbon market didn’t really kick off the way the Kyoto Accords saw it, so what are the industries actually afraid of? So far there has been no empirical evidence3 of the EU ETS forcing companies to move abroad, so it would be fair to conclude that ‘carbon leakage’ is just a very lucrative for the industry myth. Since ETS doesn’t seem to apply the ‘polluter pays’ principle very well, by often giving away free EUAs,

3 Ruggiero A, ‘Why We Need More than Just the EU Carbon Market to Tackle Industrial Pollution’ (www.euractiv. com, 2 May 2019) <https://www.euractiv.com/section/emissions-trading-scheme/opinion/why-we-need-more-thanjust-the-eu-carbon-market-to-tackle-industrial-pollution/>

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there have been reports from green non-governmental organizations (NGOs) suggesting there a lot of alternatives which could put the European heavy industry at least on the right way towards a ‘greener’ production process though joint effort, strategic planning and new industrial climate policies.4 There have also been problems noticed in regards so unfair distribution effects during phases I and II, e.g. electricity companies passing along the price for their EUAs to their consumers, but the Commission obtained the full auctioning allowances for electricity companies in phase III. Then there was the question of how does the EU prevent and regulate fraud in regards to the ETS. Fraud is something the general population is familiar with, but the EU ETS is something extremely foreign, so the headlines connected to this problem caused confusion. Two types of fraud are identified as affecting the environmental integrity of the ETS: the recycling of CERs and the selling of non-additional offset credits.

While fraud such as VAT fraud disturbed the economic efficiency of the market. VAT fraud alone caused around 5 billion euros in lost tax revenue in the period between 2009 and 2010, according to Europol’s data. Considering the carbon market is a relatively new idea, which is still immature in certain aspects, and the nature of the its intangible goods, e.g. the EUAs, it can be concluded that it is much more vulnerable in comparison to other markets.5 The threat to the EU ETS now The reason why the EU ETS is extremely relevant at present is not just because it’s one of the main European climate tools, but because recently 12 Member States have committed to phasing-out their coal-fired power plants in the coming years. By 2030 all EU countries will have to follow the same path. This is a wonderful development, environment-wise, but it could have very serious negative effects on the ETS and thus on the EU’s overall climate action plan.

Source: Carbon Market Watch

4 Net Zero 2050, Industrial Transformation 2050, a report pointing out policy options such as an integrated innovation framework, an enhanced circular economy package, and an aligned energy and industry transition 5 Frederic Branger and others, ‘The European Union Emissions Trading Scheme: should we throw the flagship out with the bathwater?’ [2015] 6(1) Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change 9 -16

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Most of the EUAs are sold in the energy sector, and by closing down coal-powered power plants, the country can no longer sell allowances to these polluters. This means that there is going to be a large number of excess permits on the EU carbon market in the period 2021-2030, this is the so-called ‘coal bubble’. It is likely to cause the EUA prices to fall again after they just stabilized during phase III. There is a mechanism that is absorbing such damage for now – the ETS Market Stability Reserve (MSR), but it probably would not be sufficient in the future. Therefore, the newest ETS reform envisions not only a strengthening of the MSR but also the possibility for Member State governments to unilaterally cancel EUAs. This action aims at avoiding a massive surplus of cheap EUAs flooding the market, which would undermine any incentive to invest in green innovations, caused by the coal phase-out. As this is a fairly recent development it is very interesting to follow and see what the EU, together with its Member States, will decide is a

Source: Carbon Market Watch

propper solution – whether it will scrape the whole scheme, which is unlikely but still a possibility, or whether it will strengthen the already existing one. ELENA NAYDENOVA

6 ‘Avoiding A Carbon Crash: How to Phase out Coal and Strengthen the EU ETS’ (Carbon Market Watch) <https:// carbonmarketwatch.org/publications/avoiding-a-carbon-crash-how-to-phase-out-coal-and-strengthen-the-eu-ets/>

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Nature protection through network Together with the technological development of the society, people started exploiting our planet’s resources more and more in order to gain as much benefits for themselves as possible. As a result, they created a negative impact on the nature. Therefore, the necessity for laws protecting the environment appeared and political and legal measures were taken by many states worldwide. The European Union (EU) was not an exception either. Accordingly, it designed a framework of protection of the environment on the territory of its Member States, called Natura 2000.1 It is a large network of protected areas around the EU, supervised by the European Commission (the Commission) together with the authorities of the Member States.2 Nevertheless, all great initiatives have their drawbacks and issues. Unfortunately, some can be observed in Natura 2000 as well.

Currently, there are several problems which are impeding effective and uniform implementation of that program, usually being related to the monetary issues, poor ways of enforcement or lack of information shared with public.3 This article will seek to give an introduction to the topic of Natura 2000 and how it is working within the EU legal order. Moreover, it will illustrate the key issues which are still surrounding it and provide the reader with possible solutions. Accordingly, this article will firstly explain the theoretical background of Nature 2000 and its legal basis. Secondly, under the example of the Netherlands, it will unpack practical difficulties around Natura 2000 and show how the EU Member States are implementing it. Lastly, this article will try to elaborate on the means of improvement of environmental protection under the Natura 2000 initiative in the EU territory.

1 European Commission, ‘Natura 2000 and Forests Part I-II’ (2015) European Union 4. 2 European Commission, ‘Nature. Natura 2000’ (2009) European Commission 1. 3 Audrey Trochet and Dirk S. Schmeller, ’Effectiveness of the Natura 2000 network to cover threatened species’ (2013)4 Nature Conservation 35-53, 41.

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Natura 2000: Theoretical Background Natura 2000 is an EU network of protected areas which seeks to ensure the conservation of the most vulnerable species and habitats within the EU territory. One can argue that it is a new approach towards environmental protection, which goes beyond ordinary nature conservation reserves.4 Currently, Natura 2000 covers more than 900 000 km2 of the EU territory (including marine and land) and protects around 2000 species of living organisms.5 It has to be emphasized that Natura 2000 is continuing to develop and enlarge in line with new scientific findings, in order to create a long-term solution to environmental issues in the EU. This nature protection framework is based on two EU Directives, namely the Habitat Directive and the Birds Directive.6 Therefore, it is firstly necessary to briefly analyse both of those legal instruments and to illustrate how they are jointly applied within the Natura 2000 program. The first Directive is the Birds Directive of the 1979,7 according to which EU Member States are obliged to protect around 600 species of birds and the habitats used by those birds for reproduction and migration purposes. Accordingly, special conservation areas have to be designated in order to fulfil the goal of that directive. Those areas are identified according to specific criteria, namely “‘1% of the population of listed vulnerable species’ or ‘wetlands of international importance for migratory

waterfowl’”.8 Additionally, Member States are free to add their own assessment criteria for the further determination of areas in need of protection,9 without harming the effectiveness of implementation of the Directive.10 The second Directive to be discussed is the Habitats Directive of 1992.11 This document goes further and covers not only one type of living organisms (as it is done by the Birds Directive), but also protects a variety of animal and plant species around Europe. Additionally, it covers around 200 types of habitats where they can be found.12 According to this directive, Member States are carrying out their own scientific assessment of habitats and types of living organisms present there and have to send to the Commission a proposal of list of Sites of Community Importance.13 The Commission subsequently is analysing the proposal and gives its decision and recommendations regarding the quality of the sites chosen by a Member State at stake. As a consequence, both Directives are forming an obligation upon the Member States to design specific areas which will be protected from harmful human activities, named the Natura 2000. However, as was previously written, this EU program is intended to go much further than an ordinary nature reserve. Accordingly, Natura 2000 forms an entire EU network of environmental protection, which is also designated to change society attitude towards the environment.14 It is promoting the thesis of balanced and interdependent existence

4 Douglas Evans, ‘Building the European Union’s Natura 2000 network’ (2012) 1 Nature Conservation 11-26, 13. 5 European Commission (n 2) 1. 6 European Commission Environment, ‘Natura 2000’ (European Commission 14 November 2019) 7 Directive 2009/147/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on the conservation of wild birds OJ L 20. 8 European Commission Environment, ‘Natura 2000: Sites - Birds Directive’ (European Commission 07 August 2019) 9 ibid. 10 Case 158/80 Rewe Handelsgesellschaft Nord mbH and Rewe Markt Steffen v Hauptzollamt Kiel ECLI:EU:C1981:163 para 46. 11 Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora OJ L 206. 12 European Commission (n 1) 32. 13 Audrey Trochet and Dirk S. Schmeller (n 3) 36. NOVEMBER 2019 22 14 Douglas Evans (n 4) 18.


of the EU community and the Planet. It advocates the necessity of biodiversity conservation through mutualistic relations between technological development of the Member States and interests of the environment.15 Lastly, Natura 2000 involves not only public, but also private actors, as a way to ensure full transparency and successful achievement of sustainable development goals.16 Nonetheless, Natura 2000 is facing several implementation issues at the national level, which will be further discussed in the next section of the article. Implementation burden: national interests against the environment Natura 2000 program is based, as was explained earlier, on the EU directives. Consequently, they are not directly applicable on the national level, but have to be transposed by the Member States. It has to be emphasised that Member States are enjoying procedural autonomy while implementing EU law and are only bound by the principles of effectiveness and equality. Therefore, that they are enjoying a large discretion while identifying and assessing the areas which they want to put under Natura 2000 protection.17 Unfortunately, quite often it leads to the conflict of economic and environmental interests within the state. This section will analyse Natura 2000’s implementation in the Netherlands, illustrate its practical difficulties and will propose possible solutions.

The two most serious problems for Natura 2000 conservation areas in the Netherlands are pollution and modification of the natural system.18 However, in order to diminish the harm to the environment, the law obliges Dutch ministries to draft management plans where the use of land, possible environmental impact and necessity for issuing permits have to be analysed.19 Importantly, the Dutch government prefers to take more conservation measures than those of a restrictive nature.20 Currently, the Dutch government has designated around 160 sites for protection (what forms around 16% of the Dutch territory),21 which includes 33 types of various habitats.22 Nevertheless, it has to be reiterated that not only public bodies are responsible for the Natura 2000 implementation. Many private stakeholders are also involved, with whom the Dutch authorities have to conduct an active dialog. Currently, the core means of encouragement in that dialog used by the government is the financial one. As an example, one can see that the Netherlands are investing a lot in order to diminish the Nitrogen deposition, threatening the Natura 2000 protected areas, which is caused by the agricultural nature of the Dutch economy.23 However, it can be argued that already taken actions are not sufficient enough in order to fully implement Natura 2000 in the Netherlands. The core burden existing at the moment is the lack of information on Natura 2000

15 European Commission (n 2) 2. 16 ibid. 17 Case 28/67 Firma Molkerei-Zentrale Westfalen/Lippe GmbH v Hauptzollamt Paderborn ECLI:EU:C:1968:17 153. 18 Irene Bouwma, Raoul Beunen and Duncan Liefferink, ‘Natura 2000 management plans in France and the Netherlands: Carrots, sticks, sermons and different problems’ (2018) 46 Journal for Nature Conservation 56–65, 59. 19 Dutch Natuurbeschermingswet 1998; Irene Bouwma, Raoul Beunen and Duncan Liefferink (n 18) 60. 20 ibid, 60. 21 European Commission Environment, ‘Dutch Nitrogen Tour’ (European Commission 03 November 2016) 22 ibid, 61; Government of the Netherlands, ‘Natura 2000’ (Government of the Netherlands 14 November 2019) 23 Irene Bouwma, Raoul Beunen and Duncan Liefferink (n 18) 63.

23 NOVEMBER 2019


Source: Peter Galvin

provided to the ordinary Dutch population.24 Unfortunately, many people are simply not yet aware of this environmental protection program and thus can unintentionally cause harm to the protected sites. The second problem is the reluctance of many businesses to sacrifice their financial short-term benefits for fulfilment of the long-term natural protection plans.25 As a consequence, only around 35% of Natura 2000 sites on the Dutch territory are now under governmental designations.26 Therefore, it can be observed that financial means of motivation alone are not enough to effectively enhance environmental protection in the Netherlands and, by analogy, on the entire EU territory. National authorities, together with the

EU institutions, have to sufficiently inform EU citizens about the Natura 2000 network, so that the latter will be able to understand the substance of the measures taken by national governments and adjust their approach towards environmental protection. Accordingly, it can be underlined that in the first place, the change in people’s minds is necessary for the successful functioning of Natura 2000.27 Without a proper understanding of the matter at stake by the EU citizens and possibilities of their involvement, no Member State government will be able to fully fulfil Natura 2000 goals. Therefore, an increase of public participation is crucial and has to be done on not only on the national, but also on the EU level.28

24 ibid 63; Commission Note on Establishing Conservation Measures for Natura 2000 Sites 2013 6. 25 I.M. Bouwma, R. van Apeldoorn, A. Çil, M. Snethlage, N. McIntosh, N. Nowicki and L.C. Braat, ‘Natura 2000 - Addressing conflicts and promoting benefits’ (2010) Alterra 8. 26 Joost Heeremans, ’Natura 2000 in the Netherlands: An Analysis of Framing and Standing in Dutch Newspapers between 1998 and 2009’ (2016) Strategic Communication Group (COM) 15. 27 Joost Heeremans (n 26) 17. 28 Tomislav Laktic and Špela Pezdevšek Malovrh, ‘Stakeholder Participation in Natura 2000 Management Program: Case Study of Slovenia’ (2018) 9 (599) Forests 1-21, 15.

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Source: Forcastro

Conclusion To conclude, it has to be reiterated that Natura 2000 is not a simple nature conservation program in the EU. It is the largest network of protected areas with seeks to promote the necessity of partnership between people and nature. It shows that the EU has a serious attitude towards the environment and illustrates the new approach regarding nature protection. However, the uniform application of this framework is still not achieved due to the national autonomy of Member States. Under the example of the Netherlands, the reader has seen a national approach towards Natura 2000 and which issues are existing around it. Accordingly, the lack of public participation can be understood as the core weak point of Natura 2000 not only in the Netherlands, but also in the entire EU. Therefore, it is crucial to better inform EU citizens about the Natura 2000 program, its goals and means of implementation. As a result, the attitude of society will change and the 25 NOVEMBER 2019

successful application of EU environmental policies will be strengthened. However, it has to be done by both, supranational EU institutions and on Member States level by the respective national authorities. Accordingly, through joint efforts Natura 2000 will finally be able to achieve its main goals. KYRILL RYABTSEV


THE TRACTOR STRIKE: THE SURPLUS OF NITROGEN EMISSIONS

An exploration into whether farms contribute immensely to the global warming crisis

At the turn of the twenty-first century, the European Union placed more emphasis on environmental policies as an increasing amount of issues and dangers were made wide-known. There are three main EU directives on nitrogen emissions in the atmosphere: the 2008 Directive on Industrial Emissions concerning Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control, the 2001 National Emission Ceilings Directive and the 2008 Ambient Air Quality Directive. All three directives set the limits for the core greenhouse gas pollutants including nitrogen oxide, for each

Member State. However, these directives allow the Member States to decide on their own measures that need to be taken in order to comply with EU policy. Thus, some Member States, such as the Netherlands, recently had the issue that they have emitted an exceeding amount of nitrogen oxide into the atmosphere. While the Netherlands is close to breaching the EU set limits and has therefore set a target in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 by 25 per cent in comparison to the 1990 levels, its new measures in reducing nitrogen oxide NOVEMBER 2019 26


into the atmosphere. While the Netherlands is close to breaching the EU set limits and has therefore set a target in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 by 25 per cent in comparison to the 1990 levels, its new measures in reducing nitrogen oxide emissions have infuriated many citizens. Issues Nitrogen oxide is a significant factor in terms of air pollution and biodiversity due to the fact that it has a stronger greenhouse gas effect than carbon dioxide, proving to be a dominant gas in fuelling global warming. While nitrogen oxide emissions mainly stem from transport and have decreased in the past few years due to the introduction of emission control in cars, ammonia emissions from farming have gradually increased since 2014.

“According to the European Environment Agency in 2017, the Netherlands has a higher-than-permitted level of nitrogen emissions.” Although the European Commission officially recognised that managing nitrogen oxide pollution is “one of the biggest environmental challenges” for the Netherlands and other members of the European Union, Brussels will not amend the directives that prescribe these limits. 27 NOVEMBER 2019

One of the EU’s most prominent goals is to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in order to promote sustainability. According to governmental statistics, around 70 per cent of the Netherland’s surface area exceeds the critical limits for nitrogen. This is critical as excess nitrogen produces pollutants such as ammonia and ozone which affect health, alter plant growth and limit visibility. Nitrogen oxide specifically can harm the health of forests, soils and waterways, and acts as an indirect greenhouse gas. Therefore, in 2015, the Dutch government devised a plan combatting pollution which allowed for additional nitrogen emissions as long as it would be later compensated. By May, it was evident that this plan was not sufficient enough and thus the Council of State paused every project that would exert surplus nitrogen oxide. The New Rules In May 2019, the highest administrative court in the Netherlands declared that the government legislation for granting construction permits and farming activities which exert high quantities of nitrogen breached European Union legislation. As a result, 18 000 infrastructure and construction projects were paused. The government deemed the reduction of livestock farms as a crucial way of cutting nitrogen emissions, which in turn would jeopardise an extremely crucial sector of the Dutch economy and thus infuriate farmers. Initially, an advisory commission encouraged the government to adopt a broad package of measures which would lower the speed limit on certain roads and buy out and close farms in order to reduce emissions. In September 2019, 12


provinces adopted new rules in order to reduce nitrogen emissions. The government hoped to reduce the nitrogen surplus produced by farmers by limiting the number of animals held by farmers, which is usually higher than the number for which they have a permit. For example, liberal MP Tjeerd de Groot declared that livestock production should be halved, and thus Dutch farms would have 6 million fewer pigs and 50 million fewer chickens, prompting an uproar amongst farmers. Instead, these emissions previously exerted by farmers would be transferred to other industrial sectors which have already exceeded their nitrogen emission limit.

In conclusion, it is evident that the European Union must prescribe more explicit policies in order to effectively combat greenhouse gases within its Member States. The Netherlands has focused on reducing nitrogen emissions in farming due to the fact that they have been producing surplus nitrogen oxide in the industrial sector. However, due to the fact that farms only emit a scarce amount of nitrogen oxide as opposed to industrial powerplants, it is evident that, in terms of fulfilling the EU’s goal of addressing environmental issues, more action will be necessary.

The Strike

Schaart E, ‘Angry Dutch Farmers Swarm The Hague to Protest Green Rules’ (POLITICO, 17 October 2019)

In October 2019, thousands of farmers across the Netherlands participated in the national ‘tractor strike’. It was reported that in The Hague around 2 200 farmers joined the protest. There was almost 1 136 km of traffic jams on the motorway, many calling it the “worst rush hour”. In Groningen, the police had to prevent farmers from driving a tractor through the front door of the city municipality. One of the major issues that left farmers furious was the fact that they were being targeted rather than the industrial sector which is responsible for more nitrogen emissions than Dutch farms. Therefore, the policy is aimed more at redirecting nitrogen emissions rather than effectively reducing them. It is debatable whether the European Union’s environmental policies are being fulfilled as the nitrogen emissions are only being cut from farmers in order to justify to excess excretion from the industrial area, and thus there is a lack of focus in reducing greenhouse gases.

Sources:

Schaart E, ‘The Netherlands Struggles with Nitrogen Headache’ (POLITICO, 2 October 2019) BBC News, ‘Dutch Tractor Protest Sparks ‘Worst Rush Hour’’(BBC News, 1 October 2019) Oene Oenema, Nitrogen in current European policies, Cambridge University Press, 2011, p 66. TAHARA KAMARA

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FINALLY, WE WOULD LIKE TO THANK ALL WRITERS AND READERS FOR MAKING THE COMPLETION OF THIS MAGAZINE POSSIBLE. WE MAKE THIS MAGAZINE FOR YOU, THEREFORE WE RELY ON YOUR FEEDBACK, COLLABORATION, INPUT AND COMMENTS IN ORDER TO KEEP PRODUCING MAGAZINES THAT YOU WANT TO READ. SO, PLEASE BE IN TOUCH! - The Nexus Magazine Editorial Team


Profile for Nexus Magazine

Nexus. Magazine November 19/ 20  

The newest issue of the Nexus. Magazine focuses on Environmental issues and how Law (both International and European) try to regulate them.

Nexus. Magazine November 19/ 20  

The newest issue of the Nexus. Magazine focuses on Environmental issues and how Law (both International and European) try to regulate them.

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