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UK BREXIT Bill values environmental laws

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 08:28

The Great Repeal Bill was published last week by the UK’s government as an important part of the BREXIT process. The Bill aims to reassure businesses with certainty as the UK leaves the EU. Theresa May states, “The Government’s first objective as we negotiate a new deep and special partnership with the European Union is to provide business, the public sector, and everybody in our country with as much certainty as possible as we move through the process.” The UK plans to convert all EU law into UK law before the withdrawal actually occurs. This converted law will include all EU regulations, EU treaties, and the CJEU case law. Additionally, the Bill will repeal the ECA.

As evident in the Great Repeal Bill, there is a strong focus on environmental protection as the UK leaves the EU. The enactment of the Bill followed the triggering of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which also includes the continuation of existing EU green laws. “The Government is committed to ensuring that we become the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we found it,” the Bill reads. With the Great Repeal Bill, the UK Government will be sure to include in their legislation all EU environmental laws that are currently in place. EU environmental laws have included cleaner rivers, and reductions in emissions of sulphur dioxide and substances that lead to ozone-depletion.

While the UK Government is planning to include most EU legislation, it is also aware that some changes need to be made. The Bill reads, “The Government recognises the need to consult on future changes to the regulatory frameworks, including through parliamentary scrutiny.”

READ MORE ABOUT THE GREAT REPEAL BILL HERE

Tags: BREXITnewsflash: Issue 54

EU Waste BREF Document

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 08:27

The European Union recently implemented a draft called BREF, which states the best practices for treating waste. Specifically, it discusses techniques to practice pollution control for waste treatment plants. The document aims to replace guidelines that were created in 2006 and bring new and improved emission limits. The agreed upon numbers are as follows:

  • A maximum of 20 milligrams/cubic metre of ammonia emissios for composting and anaerobic digestion
  • A maximum of 40 mg.m3 of volatile organic compounds for mechanical biological treatment

However, Sweden and the Czech Republic have expressed objections to the draft. These objections include the belief that BREF should have a larger inclusion of the treatment of animal carcasses and animal waste. The current draft mainly focuses on raising emission levels for composting plants. If all goes well, BREF will be fully implemented and practiced by 2022.

Tags: Implementation reportnewsflash: Issue 54

Agreement between EIB and Natural Capital Financing Facility

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 08:26

The European Investment Bank and the European Commission have agreed on a loan arrangement with Rewilding Europe Capital in order to support businesses with nature-focused initiatives. The Natural Capital Financing Facility (NCFF), which was created by the EIB and the Commission, is backing the loan of €6 million. The NCFF will primarily focus on projects regarding biodiversity and climate adaptations, and support them financially. Rewilding Europe Capital is the first rewilding business in Europe and it focuses on providing loans to new and developing businesses. The movement of Rewilding Europe is to raise awareness of sustainably focused businesses while supporting them by partnering with enterprises that are able to give them loans.

            Rewilding Europe Capital was founded in 2013 and has been successful, having given 420,000 euros in loans to 16 different enterprises. The ‘rewilding areas’ that REC has focused on are Portugal, Croatia, Italy, Romania, Bulgaria, Germany/Poland, and Sweden. Rewilding Capital Europe has a goal of reaching between 20 and 30 new loans to businesses across Europe. This includes 38 sites that are part of Natura 2000, which is a ‘network’ of environmentally protected areas in the world. 18% of land in the EU is comprised of the Natura 2000 areas. Natura 2000 supports the Birds Directive and the Habitats Directive, which both value the protection of endangered species.

The total budget the NCFF has sums to €100-125 million until 2019, with an additional €50 milllion that will come from the European Commission. Karmenu Vella specified that the rewilding project will the beginning to many new projects focused on sustainability and she is looking forward to the future, “Nature is essential for our lives, and our economy. The recent successful evaluation of the EU nature directives illustrated this.” The agreement between the EIB, the Commission, and the NCFF will certainly have positive affects on European sustainability initiatives.

READ MORE HERE

Tags: Nature Conservationnewsflash: Issue 54

Circular Economy Update

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 08:25

The development replacing the linear economy with a circular economy is believed to have positive impacts on the economic sectors of production, consumption, environment and society. As it is a recently established project, there is currently a lot of research being conducted to ensure that there is a clear understanding of what a circular economy is and the actions that it entails in order to succeed. Vasileios Rizos, Katja Tuokko and Arno Behrens wrote a paper entitled The Circular Economy: A review of definitions, processes, and impacts, which aims to critically analyze the circular economy in past, present, and future terms.

There are various definitions of what exactly the circular economy is, but the principle is the focus on recycling and re-using the ‘inputs of the economy’ in order to have a more sustainable and productive economic sector. A popular definition of the circular economy is “where the value of products, materials and resources is maintained in the economy for as long as possible, and the generation of waste minimized.” The idea of the circular economy was created based on the three critical relationships between the economy and the environment: resource supplier, waste assimilator, and source of utility. It is an interesting concept because it combines industry and environment with the belief that the two can complement each other in ways that will positively impact the economy. The most difficult part of developing the circular economy has been completely replacing the linear economic model, which has been present since the Industrial Revolution.

The review of the Circular Economy paper came to the conclusion that there is a small amount of available information regarding the indirect effects on the economy of the major adjustment that has occurred. These indirect effects would include what kind of impacts it has had on the value change and what kind of changes there have been on consumption and spending patterns. The paper also concludes that because of the fragmentation of the research surrounding the circular economy, it is difficult to compare results on studies that have been conducted. There are strong arguments that the switch to the circular economy will have long-term positive impacts on the economy, but researchers are having a hard time expressing those effects right now.

READ MORE ABOUT THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY HERE

Tags: circular economynewsflash: Issue 54

LIFE and Habitats Directive Anniversary

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 08:24

This year, the LIFE Programme and the EU Habitats Directive are happy to celebrate their 25th anniversaries. The LIFE Programme is an organization created by the European Union that supports projects based on environmental, nature conservation, and climate action initiatives. The organization has been incredibly successful since it was founded in 1992, expecting to have contributed 3.4 billion euros to the cause between 2014-2020. The EU Habitats Directive is another impressive movement created by the European Union. It aims to conserve wild areas that consist of threatened or endemic animal and plant species. The Habitats Directive works continuously with the Birds Directive and the EU Natura 2000, which also raise awareness and protection of endangered environments.

Both the LIFE Programme and the EU Habitats Directive were approved on 21 May 1992 and this year is the 25th Anniversary of both initiatives. 21 May, according to the European Union, will officially be ‘European Natura 2000 day’ to celebrate the achievements of the programs. There will be an event in Brussels to celebrate the day. The purpose of this day is not only to celebrate the organizations, but also to raise awareness throughout Europe about the initiatives that they practice. Organizations that are interested in registering for an event are invited to on www.life-25.eu.

Tags: Life Programme; EU funding; environment; climate;newsflash: Issue 54

Member States criticized for little participation in Natura 2000 initiatives

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 08:23

The European Court of Auditors from the European Commission has recently expressed concerned that Member States are not investing enough in the numerous Natura 2000 sites throughout Europe. The European Commission has to now reevaluate the numbers to determine if the current funds are enough to make an impact on Natura 2000. The main concern by the Auditors is that the Member States evidently do not know how to correctly allocate the funds that they have set aside for the initiative of Natura 2000. The Auditors stated that there is little focus on keeping the funding organized and monitored, which directly affects the Natura 2000 sites because they are not being properly supported. The European Commission has claimed that it will improve the execution of the initiative through a detailed plan that will include legal instruments for Member States to follow. The Auditors recently visited 24 of the Natura 2000 sites, in countries including France, Germany, Spain, Poland, and Romania. Among the conclusions was that Member States were not up keeping their management plans nor had all of them even been ‘designated as special conservation areas’.

The Natura 2000 network covers 18% of the EU’s land with roughly 27,000 sites throughout Europe. It is a critical initiative for Europe as it protects endangered animals and habitats that require more attention than they have been given in the past in order to survive. It is compulsory for Member States to keep up with the sites that exist in their countries and ensure that they are being maintained appropriately. It is unfortunate that the Auditors had to conclude that the Natura 2000 initiative has not been implemented properly by Member States, but there will be extensive work done in the future to change this by 2020.

DOWNLOAD THE REPORT HERE

Tags: Natura 2000newsflash: Issue 54

Insufficient funds for Natura 2000

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 08:22

The European Union is incredibly focused on providing appropriate funds for environmental needs across Europe, namely for the Natura 2000 initiative. The EU funds nearly 5.8 billion euros per year to implement the directive and ensure that it is being carried out properly. The European Court of Auditors recently analyzed the initiative and concluded that five member states are not living up to expectations of the goals that should be met for Natura 2000. The Auditors found that the funds were not being properly allocated to the sectors of the Natura 2000. The Auditors also concluded that the EU is only meeting 20% of the funding that is necessary for Natura 2000 to be implemented efficiently.

            After the disappointing results, the IEEP is considering what to do next in order to improve the implementation of Natura 2000. A larger budget from a new fund is one option, but some believe that it could have adverse affects on the aggregate funding level in the end. IEEP would also like to create more stakeholder cooperation through awareness events consistently throughout the year.

READ MORE HERE

Tags: Natura 2000newsflash: Issue 54

LIFE PROGRAMME 2017 EVENT

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 08:21

On 31 May 2017, the European Commission is holding an event dedicated to the LIFE Programme. This event will discuss funding opportunities for the organization in 2017 and give information about the project. The event will be from 10:00-16:00 in Brussels and registration is first come, first serve. Representatives of businesses are all welcome to join, as well as from NGOs, industry, and local and regional authorities. There will be opportunities to meet European Commission specialists and discuss implementations. The LIFE event is part of EU Green Week 2017, and those interested are able to register on the Green Week website.

FIND MORE INFORMATION HERE

Tags: Life Programmenewsflash: Issue 54

European Environment Bureau holds photo competition

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 08:20

The European Environment Bureau has announced that it is holding a photo competition in order to raise awareness of the importance of nature. The purpose is to remind people of what nature does for us, including giving us air, water, food, clothing, and also lessening the intense effects of climate change. The photo competition is called ‘NATURE@work’ and the EEA encourages widespread participation.

READ MORE HERE

Tags: European Environment Bureaunewsflash: Issue 54

Search for members for the Circular Economy Expert Group

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 08:19

In the midst of the transition to the circular economy, there is a significant amount of change that needs to occur in order to ensure that progress will be made. The Circular Economy Package, released by the European Commission in 2015, stated that there will be actions taken to launch a project with various banks and the European Investment Bank to provide more financial support to the new circular economy. “The group”, which is specifically the Support the Circular Economy Financing Expert Group, will carry out tasks similar to the Commission’s Register of Commission expert group. It will primarily advise the Commission on how to fund the circular economy on behalf of the Member States as well as being the main body to make decisions on the financial aspects of the circular economy.

            Currently, the Commission is accepting applications for members of the expert group. The categories that will be represented in the group are as follows:

  • European Investment Bank
  • National promotional banks or institutions
  • Organizations, specifically with circular economy focuses: NGOs, financial institutions, universities, law firms
  • Various public entities: EU agencies

READ MORE ABOUT THE APPLICATION HERE

Tags: circular economynewsflash: Issue 54

ENEP Folder Spread

Thu, 03/16/2017 - 14:39

High level European Commission meeting with ENEP to discuss green jobs, services and implementation of environmental legislation

Sat, 02/25/2017 - 12:07

Representatives from ENEP met with William Neale, Member of Cabinet to Karmenu Veila, the European Commissioner for Environment and Maritime Affairs on Monday 6th February, to discuss the future environmental policy agenda in 2017.The visit conincided with the launch of a major initiative of the European Commission the Environmental Implementation Review (EIR) that seeks to target the causes of poor implementation, facilitate capacity building, promote best practice sharing improve auditing and compliance techniques in a way that the Commission hopes will reduce the need for recourse to the European Court of Justice in the longer term. During the meeting Mr Neale encouraged all of you to take a look at the EIR national country reports. The Spring General Assembly that meets in Cardiff, UK on 27th and 28th April will discuss your reactions to the national reports and use your experiences to feed into Green Week 2017.  The annex to the EIR communication provides a useful overview across a wide range of environmental policies in the 28 Member States.

#GreenWeek2017

ENEP congratulated the European Commission on its theme for Green Week 2017 - Green jobs for a greener future and delegation underlined that their conviction that that professional competence is a key driver for effective implementation with national associations playing a key role in the accreditation of recognised skills and competences.  To illustrate this we pointed to our response in the context of the 2015 REFIT on the nature directives that underlined “that the professional competences of those implementing, and advising on the implementation of the Directives is essential.” Greening the economy will create new occupations and there will be a need for new skills profiles, qualifications and training frameworks. Many existing occupations and industries will experience greening changes to tasks within their jobs, and this will require adjustments to the current training and qualification frameworks for these occupations.  Whilst the primary aim of our associations focuses on increasing education and awareness about environmental and sustainability issues the William confirmed that the European Commission is seeking input to Green Week high level conference on how jobs and green skills in other sectors (or non-green roles) will need to change in the future to facilitate the transition to a sustainable society. 

Future of European Service provision across borders

Discussions then moved on to the recent developments on European Services following the proposals from the European Commission on 11th January for the non-regulated professions. The proposed measures seek to make it easier for services providers to avoid burdensome local outdated rules to work across borders. The Commission’s initiative builds on the Services Directive by focusing on its better implementation (a common thread in the Juncker Commission) and its benefit for Jobs and Growth in the the EU economy.   

The first element of the initiative is a proposal (and that is all it is for time prior to its approval between the European Parliament and Member States) fora new European Services e-card: This e-card aims to set up a simplified electronic procedure will make it easier for providers of business services (e.g. engineering firms, IT consultants, organisers of trade shows) and construction services to complete the administrative formalities required to provide services abroad. Services providers will simply have to liaise with a single interlocutor in their home country and in their own language. The home country interlocutor would then verify the necessary data and transmit it to the host Member State. The host Member State retains the current power to apply domestic regulatory requirements and to decide whether the applicant can offer services on its territory. The e-card would not affect existing employer obligations or workers' rights.

A second element involves a proportionality assessment of national rules on professional services: Around 50 million people – 22% of the European labour force – work in professions to which access is conditional upon the possession of specific qualifications or for which the use of a specific title is protected, e.g. pharmacists or architects. Regulation is often warranted for a number of professions, for example those linked with health and safety. But there are many cases where unnecessarily burdensome and outdated rules can make it unreasonably difficult for qualified candidates to access these jobs. The EU does not regulate or deregulate professions – this remains a national responsibility,  but under EU law, a Member State needs to establish whether new national professional requirements are necessary and balanced. To ensure a coherent and consistent approach, the Commission is proposing to streamline and clarify how Member States should undertake a comprehensive and transparent proportionality test before adopting or amending national rules on professional services

Despite references in the texts to engineering and site regeneration, the environmental professions are notably absent. During a previous piece of work in 2012 on the Services Directive ENEP learnt about the application of codes of conduct / ethics. Article 37(1) of the Services Directive states ‘Member States shall, in cooperation with the Commission, take accompanying measures to encourage the drawing up at Community level, particularly by professional bodies, organisations and associations, of codes of conduct aimed at facilitating the provision of services or the establishment of a provider in another Member State, in conformity with Community law. AND  Art. 37(2). Member States shall ensure that the codes of conduct referred to in paragraph 1 are accessible at a distance, by electronic means.’  Environmental professions and emerging green skills are an important part of this agenda.

With Environmental services and green skills, a growing and important part of the Single Market services agenda (as underlined by the 2015 CEDEFOP report ), and the current emphasis on Green Jobs, ENEP underlined the need to ensure greater recognition at the EU level given their connection with better implementation.  ENEP will attend a workshop on the Impacts of the Single Market Strategy on Liberal Professions that will take place on the 7th March in Brussels.

The future of the Water Framework Directive

Finally, the delegation discussed the Water Framework Directive.  In the legislation Article 19(2) obliges the Commission to review the Directive by December 2019 and propose any necessary amendments. The exact modalities of this review, including whether or not this will be part of the REFIT Programme, have not been defined yet according to the Commission.  The Commission is currently undertaking the assessment of the second River Basin Management Plans and will publish a report on the implementation of the Directive before the end of 2018, as required under Article 18 of the Directive. In parallel the Commission is also launching a number of studies which, together with the implementation report, will provide the knowledge base for the review. Depending on the conclusions of this review, the Commission will decide whether or not to propose a revision of the Water Framework Directive.

Tags: Green Week 2017implementationGreen JobsWater Framework DirectiveServicesnewsflash: Issue 53attachment:  Impacts of the Single Market Strategy on Liberal Professions (17.03.17).pdf

The 2017 Green Cities of Europe

Tue, 02/21/2017 - 13:56

On 21st January, the town of Essen, Germany was awarded the title of European Green Capital 2017. Being the European Green Capital creates more incentive for cities around Europe to become more sustainable and to raise environmental awareness within the community. Additionally, the title has proven to improve the cities’ tourism and aggregate population, because more people are attracted to the city if it is environmentally friendly.

Last year’s Green City was Ljubljana, Slovakia. The city had implemented “Vision 2025”, which aimed to improve the cities’ transportation network and improve urban green measures overall. The nine cities in the past that have been awarded European Green City are Stockholm, Hamburg, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Nantes, Copenhagen, Bristol, and Ljubljana. The Green City of 2018 witll be Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

Essen is a special city to receive the title because in the past it was largely a coal and steel industry, and its incredible transformation to the greenest city in North-Rhine Westphalia is impressive. The mayor of Essen, Thomas Kufen, expressed upon receiving the award that it was a challenge to transform the city that dramatically, but the results proved to be worth it. Some measures that Essen took to become a Green City are as follows:

• Targeted reduction of C02 emissions by 40% by the year 2020

• Created a water management system with multifunctional green areas. It is used for rainwater management, flood prevention and groundwater recharge to prevent rainwater from entering the sewer network;

• Created 376 km of bicycle lanes in hopes of increasing cycling by 25% by 2035

• Reduction of car travel by 29% by 2035

• Recyling target of 65% by 2020

Additionally, the European Commission will launch a “Green City Tool”in June 2017, which any city can use to monitor its environmental progress relative to other cities. This will be launched in June. There are also other existing city awards, such as the European Green Leaf 2017. This was created by the European Commission to acknowledge cities’ commitment to the environment and raising awareness of being a Green City. The award was given to Galway City for 2017, and in the past has gone to Mollet del Vallès and Torres Vedras.

READ MORE

Tags: European Green Capital

Environmental Implementation Review: European Commission adopts policy to improve European environmental policy

Tue, 02/21/2017 - 13:40

The European Commission adopted the Environmental Implementation Review (EIR) on the 3rd February 2017. It is a new process allowing the European Commission to help Member States with the implementation of EU environmental laws. The benefits of the implementation will directly affect citizens, administrations and the economy in a positive way. The Environmental Implementation Review will focus on the reasons for the existing issues in the implementation process. From this, EIR will decide how to solve the complications before the Member State falls foul of infringement proceedings in the European Court of Justice. The EIR points to three inherent causes of poor implementation in the Member States:

1) ineffective communication between administrative levels;

2)insufficient capacity,

and 3) a deficiency of knowledge and data.

The EIR looks at implementation in waste prevention, nature and biodiversity, air quality, and water quality. The challenge of waste prevention is the most critical because, according to the Commission, six Member States have been unable to limit the landfilling of biodegradable waste. Landfill contributes to the production of greenhouse gases and poisonous liquids in the environment. Another shared issue of nature and biodiversity is a concern because of the increasing loss of wildlife, which has been stated by the European Union Fitness Check of the Birds and Habitats. Air quality is another area of concern, with the biggest contributing factor being transport emissions. The standards for EU air quality continue to be breached in 23 Member States. The pollution not only leads to less than adequate air quality but also to poor health in citizens. Another area of concern to be focused on with EIR is in water quality and management. A total of 13 Member States are facing EU legal action because of their inability to reach agreement with the law on wastewater treatment.

The process of the EIR is as follows:

will be open communication about the issue areas with the Member States that will be updated regularly. A Country Report for all 28 countries will be prepared every two years. These reports discuss the observed strengths and weaknesses in implementation of environmental laws in the specific Member State. Download the implementation report for your Member State now through the interactive map here

A Synthesis of all of the results will be created and then submitted to the European Council for feedback. From here, the best possible options will be discussed to solve the priority issues. Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, stated his support for the EIR during a press conference on the 6th February. The whole point of the EIR process is to enable the European Commission to be more proactive and reduce the need the need Court action in the long run. As part of the European Commission’s 10 priorities the 10 priorities of the Juncker Commission focus on making progress with the implementation of environmental law implementation in the 28 Member States.

WATCH VIDEO / READ MORE

Tags: implementationnewsflash: Issue 53

Brexit’s effect on British Businesses is Contingent on the Circular Economy Package

Tue, 02/21/2017 - 13:38

A critical topic of discussion today in the UK is the negative fiscal effect that losing the current Circular Economy Package will have on British businesses if Britain leaves the EU. If the UK Government cannot create a policy to replace the EU’s Circular Economy Package, Brexit mayl cause British businesses to lose billions of euros in ‘lost efficiency savings.’The Circular Economy Package was initially created to increase recycling throughout the EU and implement more rules on incineration and landfill. It is made up of six pieces of legislation on packaging, waste, end of life vehicles, batteries and accumulators, landfill, and waste electronic equipment. Last year, there was a debate when the European Commission withdrew and re-tabled an earlier version of the Circular Economy Package. This withdrawal of the package was seen as the Commission stalling national waste and recycling policies. The re-tabled package consisted of Ecodesign rules for products making them easier to package, and also had lower targets recycling municipal and packaging waste by 2030. At the time of this withdrawal, only the Flanders region of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany had dedicated themselves to a circular economy plan.

If the EU could reach the goal of adopting resource efficient models across market areas, for example electrical products or construction and ICT, it could increase gross value of the 2030 EU economy by 324 billion. The Aldersgate Group, which is an association of business, and society leaders with a goal of a sustainable economy, expressed their opinion on the topic by stating that the UK Government should quickly come up with an alternative resource efficiency policy. Nick Molho, the executive director of Aldersgate, gave five policy recommendations to the UK Government:

1)      To develop a integrated policy (that is backed by all Government departments);

2)      That products sold in the UK should be designed to minimise waste;

3)      Aid businesses in accessing financial and technical advice;

4)      Improve waste regulations;

5)      Actively encourage the re-use of materials

Currently, the revised version of the package is going through the European Parliament and Council of Ministers as part of the EU legislative process.

READ MORE

Tags: BREXITnewsflash: Issue 53

EU Carbon Market Reform Enhancements and New Implementations

Tue, 02/21/2017 - 13:34

The EU Emissions’ trading system (ETS) determines the price for global warming emissions. The European Parliament is currently discussing improvements to the scheme including raising the price for using coal in as an energy source.so there is less incentive for companies to use it. To add perspective with numbers, the surplus of emissions allowances has dramatically risen since 2015. This year, it is 3 billion while in 2015 it was 1.8 billion. The European Commission has proposed that 57% of allocations should be dispersed to Member States and 43% should go to industry within the most resourceful companies. Some of the changes that this new implementation includes include consideration for production increases and decreases and from there adjust the amount of free allowances based on those facts. Unfortunately, the overall consensus is that the changes to the ETS system will have little impact on the current levels of coal usage. However, Europe’s investment in renewable energy and low carbon technologies has recently increased substantially. The United Kingdom currently leads Europe with the carbon price floor.

Meanwhile in the UK, there are currently debates between British businesses on the decision as to whether or not the UK should remain a part of the EU ETS after Brexit. Supposing that the United Kingdom does withdraw from the EU, it still has the ability to remain in the trading system. Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway are all involved in the ETS despite not being members of the EU. More than 700 energy installations based in the UK, including power stations and manufacturing facilities, are involved in the system. Meanwhile, the ETS 45% of the total greenhouse gas emissions, which is why there is a dispute regarding the decision to stay in the system. Andrew McDermott, the director of the British Ceramic Confederation, has strongly suggested that the UK should leave the ETS when the phase ending in 2020 is over. He believes that the ETS is an incentive for businesses to manufacture more, which directly leads to emitting more. His suggestions include to opt out of the system or to focus more on the Climate Change Agreement. In his opinion, Brexit is the best opportunity for the UK to ‘do something different’ that might actually be effective, compared to the implementations in the past.

Alternatively, Dr. William Kyte OBE, a fellow of the International Emissions Trading Association, argues that the alternatives suggested by McDermott are far too expensive and unreasonable. He states that the ETS is not necessarily a cap on growth, but that it merely places a cap on emissions; which can either be cut back or bought for a cheaper price by another company. However, a current issue presents itself- there is now a low price on carbon resulting from the last recession. This is more incentive for emitters to invest in low carbon technology since it is cheaper to do than invest in a new system. Additionally, the current ETS phase has agreed to a weak target of setting carbon restrictions at 1.74% each year, which does not line up with intentions that were set at the Paris Accord. Dr. Kyte certainly recognizes that the EU ETS is not working well, but he stronly recommends that the UK remain in the system until 2021. Another proposal that he has stated is for the UK to introduce a system that is modeled after the EU ETS, but works on a more global scale and has slightly different implementations and rules.

READ MORE ABOUT THE NEXT STEPS

Tags: implementation

EU Carbon Market Reform Enhancements and New Implementations

Tue, 02/21/2017 - 13:33

The EU Emissions’ trading system (ETS) determines the price for global warming emissions. The European Parliament is currently discussing improvements to the scheme including raising the price for using coal in as an energy source so there is less incentive for companies to use it. To add perspective with numbers, the surplus of emissions allowances has dramatically risen since 2015. This year, it is 3 billion while in 2015 it was 1.8 billion. The European Commission has proposed that 57% of allocations should be dispersed to Member States and 43% should go to industry within the most resourceful companies. Some of the changes that this new implementation includes include consideration for production increases and decreases and from there adjust the amount of free allowances based on those facts. Unfortunately, the overall consensus is that the changes to the ETS system will have little impact on the current levels of coal usage. However, Europe’s investment in renewable energy and low carbon technologies has recently increased substantially. The United Kingdom currently leads Europe with the carbon price floor.

Meanwhile in the UK, there are currently debates between British businesses on the decision as to whether or not the UK should remain a part of the EU ETS after Brexit. Supposing that the United Kingdom does withdraw from the EU, it still has the ability to remain in the trading system. Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway are all involved in the ETS despite not being members of the EU. More than 700 energy installations based in the UK, including power stations and manufacturing facilities, are involved in the system. Meanwhile, the ETS 45% of the total greenhouse gas emissions, which is why there is a dispute regarding the decision to stay in the system. Andrew McDermott, the director of the British Ceramic Confederation, has strongly suggested that the UK should leave the ETS when the phase ending in 2020 is over. He believes that the ETS is an incentive for businesses to manufacture more, which directly leads to emitting more. His suggestions include to opt out of the system or to focus more on the Climate Change Agreement. In his opinion, Brexit is the best opportunity for the UK to ‘do something different’ that might actually be effective, compared to the implementations in the past.

Alternatively, Dr. William Kyte OBE, a fellow of the International Emissions Trading Association, argues that the alternatives suggested by McDermott are far too expensive and unreasonable. He states that the ETS is not necessarily a cap on growth, but that it merely places a cap on emissions; which can either be cut back or bought for a cheaper price by another company. However, a current issue presents itself- there is now a low price on carbon resulting from the last recession. This is more incentive for emitters to invest in low carbon technology since it is cheaper to do than invest in a new system. Additionally, the current ETS phase has agreed to a weak target of setting carbon restrictions at 1.74% each year, which does not line up with intentions that were set at the Paris Accord. Dr. Kyte certainly recognizes that the EU ETS is not working well, but he stronly recommends that the UK remain in the system until 2021. Another proposal that he has stated is for the UK to introduce a system that is modeled after the EU ETS, but works on a more global scale and has slightly different implementations and rules.

READ MORE ABOUT THE NEXT STEPS

Tags: implementationnewsflash: Issue 53

23 EU Countries failing to oblige by European Air Quality Laws

Tue, 02/21/2017 - 13:30

Air pollution, being the largest cause of premature death in urban Europe, is bringing massive concern to not only European Commission professionals but also for EU citizens. Transport has continuously been the main source of this air pollution, and it is high on the agenda for environmental reforms. In 2013, 68,000 premature deaths were caused by nitrogen dioxide, which was mostly produced by traffic. In the same year, small particulate matter killed 436,000 people. Burning fossil fuels causes this matter; which then enter the bloodstream and lungs.

The European Commission stated on 6th February that the European air quality laws have been broken in over 130 cities in 23 Member States in the EU. This leads the Commission to worry about the slow pace of progress in achieving the limits that have been set by the legislation. After the significant amount of directives and implementations taken, it has been proven that Member States are still not meeting the level of advancement as wished by the Commission. The 2008 Air Quality Directive required member states to cut exposure to particulate matter by an average of 20% by 2020. Another existing directive is The National Emissions Ceiling (NEC), which limits emissions at a national level on six air pollutants. The Council of Ministers and European Parliament are currently scrutinizing a revised version of the directive. Multiple directives drew their inspiration from a 2005 strategy on air pollution; which had five main goals. These goals were, compared to levels of 2000, to cut sulphur dioxide by 82%, nitrogen oxide emissions by 60%, volatile organic compounds by 51%, ammonia by 27%, and primary fine particulates by 59%.

The amount of legal action being taken against Member States is extensive: in the last two years the Commission launched legal action against 12 countries for not meeting air quality standards for N02. These countries are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Spain, France, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal and the UK. Additionally, there were more infringements for PM10 toward even more countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Portugal, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Resulting from the slow progress, the Commission applied an Environmental Implementation Review (EIR) at the beginning of February, aiming to improve EU rules, identify problems before they become dire issues, and work on waste management; which remains to be one of the largest issues for at least six countries.

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Tags: Pollutionnewsflash: Issue 53

23 EU Countries failing to oblige by European Air Quality Laws

Tue, 02/21/2017 - 13:30

Air pollution, being the largest cause of premature death in urban Europe, is bringing massive concern to not only European Commission professionals but also for EU citizens. Transport has continuously been the main source of this air pollution, and it is high on the agenda for environmental reforms. In 2013, 68,000 premature deaths were caused by nitrogen dioxide, which was mostly produced by traffic. In the same year, small particulate matter killed 436,000 people. Burning fossil fuels causes this matter; which then enter the bloodstream and lungs.

The European Commission stated on 6th February that the European air quality laws have been broken in over 130 cities in 23 Member States in the EU. This leads the Commission to worry about the slow pace of progress in achieving the limits that have been set by the legislation. After the significant amount of directives and implementations taken, it has been proven that Member States are still not meeting the level of advancement as wished by the Commission. The 2008 Air Quality Directive required member states to cut exposure to particulate matter by an average of 20% by 2020. Another existing directive is The National Emissions Ceiling (NEC), which limits emissions at a national level on six air pollutants. The Council of Ministers and European Parliament are currently scrutinizing a revised version of the directive. Multiple directives drew their inspiration from a 2005 strategy on air pollution; which had five main goals. These goals were, compared to levels of 2000, to cut sulphur dioxide by 82%, nitrogen oxide emissions by 60%, volatile organic compounds by 51%, ammonia by 27%, and primary fine particulates by 59%.

The amount of legal action being taken against Member States is extensive: in the last two years the Commission launched legal action against 12 countries for not meeting air quality standards for N02. These countries are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Spain, France, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Portugal and the UK. Additionally, there were more infringements for PM10 toward even more countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Portugal, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Resulting from the slow progress, the Commission applied an Environmental Implementation Review (EIR) at the beginning of February, aiming to improve EU rules, identify problems before they become dire issues, and work on waste management; which remains to be one of the largest issues for at least six countries.

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Tags: Pollution

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