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Living in the EU: Climate Change and Energy

30-04-2019

The European Union (EU) has been protecting the environment since the early 1970s, considering economic prosperity and environmental protection interdependent. As energy policies are a competence shared between the EU and its Member States (MS) joint strategic planning is strongly developed. Human activities can have adverse impacts on the environment, and subsequently on our well-being. Therefore, it is vital to monitor how MS perform in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy supply, ...

The European Union (EU) has been protecting the environment since the early 1970s, considering economic prosperity and environmental protection interdependent. As energy policies are a competence shared between the EU and its Member States (MS) joint strategic planning is strongly developed. Human activities can have adverse impacts on the environment, and subsequently on our well-being. Therefore, it is vital to monitor how MS perform in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and energy supply, considering that alongside the energy model, human behaviour of EU citizens represents the key element to prevent climate change.

Endocrine disruptors: An overview of latest developments at European level in the context of plant protection products

25-04-2019

Endocrine disruptors (EDs) are chemical substances present in many products of daily life, which interact with the hormonal system and can disrupt its proper functioning. There is a growing interest in understanding EDs and progress has been made on both the scientific and regulatory side, but the topic remains of high concern at decision-making and societal levels because of the challenges it still poses. This paper provides a desk-research based overview of the key moments of the (scientific and ...

Endocrine disruptors (EDs) are chemical substances present in many products of daily life, which interact with the hormonal system and can disrupt its proper functioning. There is a growing interest in understanding EDs and progress has been made on both the scientific and regulatory side, but the topic remains of high concern at decision-making and societal levels because of the challenges it still poses. This paper provides a desk-research based overview of the key moments of the (scientific and regulatory) debate on EDs, with a focus on the latest developments at European level, namely Commission Regulation (EU) 2018/605 and the 2018 Commission communication ‘Towards a comprehensive European Union framework on endocrine disruptors’, in the particular context of plant protection products (PPPs).

Policy Departments' Monthly Highlights - April 2019

15-04-2019

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.

The Monthly Highlights publication provides an overview, at a glance, of the on-going work of the policy departments, including a selection of the latest and forthcoming publications, and a list of future events.

An EU framework to facilitate investments in environmentally sustainable economic activities

12-04-2019

This initial appraisal assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's impact assessment accompanying its proposals for three regulations on: establishing a framework to facilitate sustainable investment disclosures relating to sustainable investments and sustainability risks; and on introducing two new categories of carbon benchmarks in the (benchmark) Regulation (EU) 2016/1011. The legislative package on sustainable finance deals with technical and inherently complex issues; ...

This initial appraisal assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission's impact assessment accompanying its proposals for three regulations on: establishing a framework to facilitate sustainable investment disclosures relating to sustainable investments and sustainability risks; and on introducing two new categories of carbon benchmarks in the (benchmark) Regulation (EU) 2016/1011. The legislative package on sustainable finance deals with technical and inherently complex issues; it is therefore not surprising that the IA accompanying it reflects such a complexity, which is not always dealt with in a clear and immediately understandable way. This might also explain the double negative opinions, unusually followed in this case by a positive opinion with reservations issued by the Commission's Regulatory Scrutiny Board (RSB). The consequences of the two identified problems (lack of incentives to consider ESG factors and high search costs faced by end-investors), and how they would evolve without EU action, are described in a satisfactory way, as well as their underlying drivers. As required, the IA identifies general and specific objectives, but no operational objectives that would have informed about how the preferred options are expected to operate in practice. This is very likely due to the fact the operational aspects of the proposals are envisaged to be defined, and analytically developed, by subsequent delegated acts. The IA's preferred options are selected after considering both a non-legislative and a regulatory approach, although two of them contains some aspects that are not entirely clear. As regards its scope, the IA has only partially succeeded in explaining the impacts considered in an entirely satisfactory way. The IA does not include an analysis of competitiveness nor an analysis of impacts, if any, on SMEs. The evidence included in the IA provides ample and detailed insights into the issues considered and some methodological limitations, regarding the proposal on low carbon and positive carbon impact benchmarks are acknowledged in the IA. The Commission has consulted extensively a broad range of stakeholders, whose views have been satisfactorily reported in the IA or in a separate document containing the results of the second open public consultation. Overall, the IA appears to have addressed the majority of the improvements requested by the RSB. Finally, the legislative proposals seem to be consistent with the analysis carried out in the IA.

Food chain risk assessment transparency

10-04-2019

Following controversies surrounding the authorisation and renewal of certain sensitive products, such as genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and active substances in plant protection products (glyphosate, neonicotinoids), the European Commission has proposed to revise and harmonise transparency rules in these policy areas. A vote to finalise Parliament's position took place at the December 2018 plenary. A provisional agreement reached in trilogue negotiations on 11 February 2019 is now awaiting ...

Following controversies surrounding the authorisation and renewal of certain sensitive products, such as genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and active substances in plant protection products (glyphosate, neonicotinoids), the European Commission has proposed to revise and harmonise transparency rules in these policy areas. A vote to finalise Parliament's position took place at the December 2018 plenary. A provisional agreement reached in trilogue negotiations on 11 February 2019 is now awaiting Parliament's final approval at first reading during the April II plenary session.

Review of the Clean Vehicles Directive

10-04-2019

In November 2017, the European Commission proposed a revision of Directive 2009/33/EC on the promotion of clean and energy-efficient road transport vehicles (the Clean Vehicles Directive), after an evaluation showed that the directive had yielded limited results. The proposed directive aims to promote clean mobility solutions in public procurement tenders and thereby raise the demand for, and the further deployment of, clean vehicles. The proposal provides a definition for clean light-duty vehicles ...

In November 2017, the European Commission proposed a revision of Directive 2009/33/EC on the promotion of clean and energy-efficient road transport vehicles (the Clean Vehicles Directive), after an evaluation showed that the directive had yielded limited results. The proposed directive aims to promote clean mobility solutions in public procurement tenders and thereby raise the demand for, and the further deployment of, clean vehicles. The proposal provides a definition for clean light-duty vehicles based on a combined CO2 and air-pollutant emissions threshold; for heavy-duty vehicles, it gives a definition based on alternative fuels. The proposal is in line with the European Commission’s energy union package, which plans action on the further decarbonisation of road transport in line with the 2030 climate and energy targets. The proposal was referred to the European Parliament’s Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI). The committee adopted its report on 10 October 2018. The Parliament then voted on the report during the October II 2018 plenary session. A trilogue agreement was reached on 11 February 2019. The Parliament is expected to vote on the agreed text during the April II session. Third edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

India: environmental issues

10-04-2019

The entire south Asian region is threatened by climate change. Changes in average weather conditions are likely to create hotspots across the region and have negative impacts on living standards and gross domestic product (GDP). India is at the core of this trend: it ranks 14th in the last United Nations global climate risk index and in 2017 it was the second most-affected country in terms of casualties related to extreme weather. Air quality in Indian cities is quickly deteriorating and it is today ...

The entire south Asian region is threatened by climate change. Changes in average weather conditions are likely to create hotspots across the region and have negative impacts on living standards and gross domestic product (GDP). India is at the core of this trend: it ranks 14th in the last United Nations global climate risk index and in 2017 it was the second most-affected country in terms of casualties related to extreme weather. Air quality in Indian cities is quickly deteriorating and it is today worse than the situation in China: in the 2018 World Health Organization (WHO) global ambient air quality database, 11 of the 12 cities with the highest levels of small particulate – PM2.5 – are located in India. Air pollution goes hand in hand with poverty: in 2016 an estimated 790 million people (almost 60 % of the Indian population), still relied on biomass for cooking. Deforestation, water pollution, clean water shortages, and waste management are further issues of concern. The Indian authorities have taken several initiatives to tackle these issues. In 2008, the first national plan on climate change (NAPCC) outlined eight 'national missions' running up to 2017. India is a leader in the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change. It is a founding member of the International Solar Alliance and has ambitious targets in terms of solar power energy. It has launched a national clean air programme (NCAP) to combat air pollution. Prime Minister's Narendra Modi government has launched several flagship initiatives on environment, including a clean cooking scheme, Clean India, Clean Ganga, and Smart Cities Mission. The EU supports Delhi's efforts on tackling its environment challenges. At their March 2016 summit, the EU and India agreed on two joint declarations: on an India-EU water partnership and on a clean energy and climate partnership. The joint declaration on partnership for smart and sustainable urban development signed at the India-EU Summit in October 2017 is the framework for EU support for India's urbanisation challenges.

CO2 emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles

09-04-2019

In May 2018, the Commission proposed a regulation setting the first-ever CO2 emission performance standards for new heavy-duty vehicles in the EU, as part of the third mobility package. It would require the average CO2 emissions from new trucks in 2025 to be 15 % lower than in 2019. For 2030, the proposal sets an indicative reduction target of at least 30 % compared to 2019. Special incentives are provided for zero- and low-emission vehicles. The proposed regulation applies to four categories of ...

In May 2018, the Commission proposed a regulation setting the first-ever CO2 emission performance standards for new heavy-duty vehicles in the EU, as part of the third mobility package. It would require the average CO2 emissions from new trucks in 2025 to be 15 % lower than in 2019. For 2030, the proposal sets an indicative reduction target of at least 30 % compared to 2019. Special incentives are provided for zero- and low-emission vehicles. The proposed regulation applies to four categories of large trucks, which together account for 65 %-70 % of CO2 emissions from heavy-duty vehicles. The Commission proposes to review the legislation in 2022 in order to set a binding target for 2030, and to extend its application to smaller trucks, buses, coaches and trailers. In the European Parliament, the proposal was referred to the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, which adopted its report on 18 October 2018. Parliament voted on the report on 14 November 2018. Trilogue negotiations were concluded on 18 February 2019 with an agreement that sets a legally binding 30 % reduction target for the average fleet emissions of new trucks by 2030. The Parliament is expected to vote on the agreed text during the April II plenary session. Third edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Climate change [What Think Tanks are thinking]

05-04-2019

The United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, on 28 March urged governments worldwide to come to the UN summit on climate in September 2019 with concrete plans to boost action against global warming. The call followed the publication of the annual report on climate change by the World Meteorological Organization, which warned about the dire consequences of the continued rise of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. In the same month, hundreds of thousands of students and pupils in 120 countries ...

The United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, on 28 March urged governments worldwide to come to the UN summit on climate in September 2019 with concrete plans to boost action against global warming. The call followed the publication of the annual report on climate change by the World Meteorological Organization, which warned about the dire consequences of the continued rise of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. In the same month, hundreds of thousands of students and pupils in 120 countries have sought to draw politicians’ attention to climate change by walking out of classes to stage repeated street protests. This note brings together commentaries, analyses and studies by major international think tanks and research institutes on climate talks and wider issues relating to climate change. Earlier publications on the issue can be found in a previous edition of 'What Think Tanks are Thinking' published in November 2018.

Electric road vehicles in the European Union: Trends, impacts and policies

03-04-2019

Technological advances and societal changes have triggered a drastic evolution in mobility. Alongside other trends, such as digitalisation, autonomous driving and shared mobility, electric mobility is also gaining momentum. Electric mobility could help the EU to achieve its goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, noise and dependence on oil. However, the extent of this help will depend on a number of factors, such as the share of electric vehicles in the overall vehicle fleet and ...

Technological advances and societal changes have triggered a drastic evolution in mobility. Alongside other trends, such as digitalisation, autonomous driving and shared mobility, electric mobility is also gaining momentum. Electric mobility could help the EU to achieve its goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, noise and dependence on oil. However, the extent of this help will depend on a number of factors, such as the share of electric vehicles in the overall vehicle fleet and how environmentally friendly electric vehicles can remain throughout their life cycle. Global sales of new electric road vehicles have been growing significantly in recent years, largely driven by the mass expansion of this mode of transport in China. Despite its rapid growth, the EU market for such vehicles is still small, and largely dependent on support policies. Most electric road vehicles are concentrated in a few northern and western Member States, although southern and eastern ones have recently recorded the biggest sales growth. Over the years, the EU has taken various actions to support electric mobility. For instance, EU-level measures have been encouraging the use of renewable electricity and smart charging; helping to develop and standardise charging infrastructure; and supporting research on batteries. Local, regional and national-level incentives (such as the introduction of lower taxes or the provision of free public parking for electric vehicles) are also promoting electric mobility. Countries that offer generous incentives and good charging infrastructure typically have a bigger market share for electric road vehicles.

Kommande evenemang

25-06-2019
Meeting EU energy and climate goals: Energy storage for grids and low-carbon mobility
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