Issue 51

September - October 2016

The surplus of CO2 emission allowances in the European Union’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) started declining in 2015. This is the first significant decrease since unused allowances started accumulating in 2008. However, the surplus remains substantial, according to the European Environment Agency’s annual report on the EU’s emissions cap and trade system published today.

Environmental taxes can contribute to a healthier planet and healthier people. They also spur jobs and growth, are easy to administer and difficult to evade. However, meeting EU climate and other environmental policy targets will erode the existing base for these sorts of taxes.

A JRC-run project and a dedicated application are bringing together scientists from across the EU and its neighbourhood to monitor and map litter floating from rivers into the seas. The project supports the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), the EU's policy framework for the protection of the marine environment which aims to achieve good environmental status of the EU's marine waters by 2020.

The seas provide a wealth of ecosystem services that support the economy and human well-being, including food provision, climate regulation, coastal protection from storms, water purification and recreational activities. To date, sustainable management of these services has been hampered by the fact they are difficult to quantify.

The European Commission has approved an investment package of €222.7 million from the EU budget to support Europe's transition to a more sustainable and low-carbon future. The EU funding will spur additional investments leading to a total of €398.6 million to be invested into 144 new projects in 23 Member States.

The first ever Eastern Partnership formal ministerial meeting dedicated to Environment and Climate Action took place in October with the participation of Commissioners Karmenu Vella and Johannes Hahn.

More than 600 professionals from the worlds of science and politics converged in Brussels in September to share expertise on how best to connect scientific evidence with government decision-making. Recent developments including infectious disease outbreaks, humanitarian crises, genetically modified crops and climate change all require the input of scientists.

On the 11th October, the 2016 Euroheat & Power District Energy Days took place to discuss the the new European Commission strategy for the sector.The heating and cooling sector of energy development is responsible for over half of energy consumption within EU states. It is imperative that reforms be made to the Europe’s aging and inefficient heating and cooling systems. In February of 2016 the European Commission adopted a new strategy to reform District Heating and cooling policy for EU states.

EU technical workshop on knowledge base and spatial and technical data for GI and restoration

Operationalisation of information and knowledge currently available on ecosystems and their services in Europe to guide policy decisions on GI and restoration

Draft Agenda

Brussels, BELSPO, 24 & 25 October 2016

24 October