4. English Summary
Revision of the Austrian EIA-Act Weakening of the rights of the public
The first article describes the plans for a revision oft he Austrian EIA Act and the efforts of environmental organisations to improve the draft. The revision of the act had already been planned for 2008. The article presents the most important NGO demands regarding the draft amendments. Basically the issues are an improvement of public participation (participation in all proceedings and access to justice, financial aid for public pariticipation) as well as a lowering of the threshold values which determine if an EIA has to be carried out.
The draft produced by the Austrian MoE did not consider the NGO demands; therefore they were repeated in a comment on the planned amendment. The draft contains an indirect detoriation of public participation possibilities caused by strengthening those proceedings in which public participation is foreseen not at all or only on a very limited scale.
Reusable packaging for drinks are disappearing from the supermarkets
The share of reusable packing material for drinks has been declining steadily over the last years in Austria. During the 1990s authoritative quota for reusable packing had existed, which caused a high share of these materials (mostly glass and reusable plastic bottles) in the supermarkets and therefore also in the refirigirators of the consumers. When the Minister of the Environment lowered the quota without reasonable explanation in 2000, the Austrian Constitutional Court overruled this decision and declared the corresponding provision invalid. Even though legally obliged, the MoE has since then not established new quota, there is no legal obligation for years now. This is one of the main reasons for the steady decline of the use of re-usable packing materials for bottles. OEKOBUERO is organizing a conference to highlight this problem and to present systems for the re-use of packing materials for drinks from other European countries.
Austrian climate strategy will not be sufficient to reach reduction targets
The last article sums up the considerations oft the Austrian Court of Auditors on the Climate Strategy issued by the Austrian government. The strategy tries to explain how Austria will fulfill the commitment for a greenhouse gas reduction of 13% below the level of 1990 which it has taken over within the burden sharing agreement of the EU member states. The Court of Auditors concluded that Austria will, with the means available within the strategy, not be able to reach this goal. This is true even if the flexible mechanisms of Joint Implementation (JI) and Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) would be used to their full capacity. In particular the sectors heating and small-scale use and traffic are problematic while progress has been made in the sectors agriculture and waste management. If Austria does not achieve the reduction within the burden-sharing agreement it could face an infringement procedure before the European Court of Justice. If the EU itself is not able to reach its overall reduction target, the member states have to achieve the original targets assigned to them under the Kyoto Protocoll alone and Austria would have to reduce even more in the next Kyoto period. In any case, there is a lot of room for improvement regarding the Austrian climate strategy.
geändert am 22.04.2009