Issue 22

Newsflash

April 2013

A group of young professionals at the start of their environmental careers have set up a networking group for environmental interns in Brussels. The aim of the network is to provide an arena to share contacts and pool resources between NGO, Parliament and Commission interns who work specifically in the field of environment. Though only formed in March, already the group has grown into an active network of over 100 young people representing the many states of the EU and has organised several successful events such as a Green Drinks Networking Evening.

The European Commissioner for Environment, Janez Potočnik, has underlined future of environmental policy and environmental priorities for the coming years. He sees the key challenges to be putting environmental considerations at the centre of the decision-making process in all policy areas. Making sure that environment policy and economic growth can and should go hand-in-hand while recognising that green growth is the only way for us to exit the economic crisis in the long term. This years key environmental initiatives include:-

 

EU-wide methods to facilitate the sale of green products across the EU’s single market have finally been released this week. Currently there is no universal way to measure the environmental performance of products and organisations meaning companies have to conduct environmental assessments based on different national methods. SME’s in particular have struggled with this as releasing products into multiple markets that require different assessments can become very costly.

A new study by the Europeans Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC) looking into potential compounds to amend the directive on Sewage Sludge has found that there none pose a significant risk. The original directive dates back to 1986 and is largely considered to be entirely outdated with only 7 heavy metals (cadmium, copper, nickel, lead, zinc, mercury and chromium) having set limits. However the study, which aimed to establish an approach to identify and prioritise compounds being considered for the directive rewrite, has concluded that there is no need to change the directive.

We are pleased to announce that our application for a joint Green Week 2013 stand from 4th to 7th June between ENEP and European Federation of Clean Air and Environmental Protection Associations has been successful! We have secured stand number 5 in the exhibition hall and members from both organisations will be welcome to join us in manning it across the entire four days of Green Week. Being represented at Green Week will allows us to meet new potential members, project partners and dissemination opportunities while promoting the role of ENEP and making contact with DG Environment.

The European Commission’s climate department has released its second call for proposals under the NER300 strand of funding. NER300 finances commercial demonstration projects that aim at the environmentally safe capture and geological storage of CO2 as well as demonstration projects of innovative renewable energy technologies under the scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowances trading within the Community. The first call, in December 2012, made funding awards worth €1.2 billion to 23 renewable energy projects.

A study on environmental complaint handling has concluded that international coordination of environmental law breeches would significantly benefit the EU including possible savings of €50 billion a year. Currently, a wide rang of approaches are used by different member states and implementing a standardized approach would mean both an administrative and economic costs.

The Renewables Energy Directive had established mandatory targets of achieving a 20% share of renewable energy including a 10% share of energy from renewable in transport by 2020. While as a whole, the 2010 renewable energy share for at least 20 member states in the EU was level or above their 2010 commitment, a European Commission analysis has found that all but Sweden, Austria and Estonia will not reach their renewable energy targets by 2020 unless new initiatives are put in place.

With the launch of a consultation paper on “Shaping international climate change policy beyond 2020” the European Commission has made it clear that they do not believe an international agreement on global carbon reduction can be achieved by 2015. In particular the area around “common but differentiated responsibility” which looks ‘precisely’ at how to share global carbon reduction efforts equitably and fairly between nations has little chance of coming to a resolution.

According to preliminary data, for the second year in a row, sectors that are covered by the EU’s emissions trading system (ETS) have seen their greenhouse gas emissions drop by 1.4% to 1.79 billion tonnes of CO2. Though power generators, the biggest sector in the ETS, only dropped by 0.4%, other areas such as manufacturing dropped by almost 4%. Industrial sectors saw a 3.9% fall in emissions, while the aviation sector, during it’s first year under the ETS, reported 55 millions tonnes of emissions based on data covering 68% of the sector.

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