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Carbon dioxide removal: Nature-based and technological solutions

23-02-2021

As a party to the Paris Agreement, the European Union has committed to implementing climate mitigation policies to keep the average temperature rise to well below 2°C, while pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°C. Meeting the more ambitious goal of 1.5°C requires bringing the level of global net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by around 2050, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Following this scientific consensus, the European Commission presented in 2019 the European ...

As a party to the Paris Agreement, the European Union has committed to implementing climate mitigation policies to keep the average temperature rise to well below 2°C, while pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5°C. Meeting the more ambitious goal of 1.5°C requires bringing the level of global net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by around 2050, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Following this scientific consensus, the European Commission presented in 2019 the European Green Deal as the strategy towards a climate-neutral Europe by 2050, and proposed a European climate law in 2020 to make this target legally binding. The IPCC scenarios consistent with limiting the temperature rise to 1.5°C show that removing CO2 from the atmosphere is essential and complements the implementation of emissions reduction policies. In line with this, the European science academies recommend prioritising deep emissions cuts, but also to start developing a portfolio of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) options immediately. Various options are being discussed in light of the growing consensus that meeting the established targets is dependent on CDR. These range from nature-based practices – such as forestation, soil carbon sequestration and wetland restoration – to technological alternatives such as enhanced weathering, bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, and direct air capture and storage. Nature-based solutions stand out as more cost-effective and viable in the short run, while some technological alternatives have potential to become more relevant later this century. The European Commission recognises the crucial role of CDR, and intends to focus on nature-based options. An extensive revision of the EU climate mitigation legislation, planned for 2021, will provide an opportunity to set a regulatory framework for CDR. The European Parliament has repeatedly called for prioritising emissions reductions over CDR, and stressed the importance of conserving biodiversity and enhancing natural sinks and reservoirs. Its position on the proposed European climate law involves removing GHGs that exceed manmade emissions in the EU and each Member State from 2051.

EU hydrogen policy: Hydrogen as an energy carrier for a climate-neutral economy

19-02-2021

Hydrogen is expected to play a key role in a future climate-neutral economy, enabling emission-free transport, heating and industrial processes as well as inter-seasonal energy storage. Clean hydrogen produced with renewable electricity is a zero-emission energy carrier, but is not yet as cost-competitive as hydrogen produced from natural gas. A number of studies show that an EU energy system having a significant proportion of hydrogen and renewable gases would be more cost-effective than one relying ...

Hydrogen is expected to play a key role in a future climate-neutral economy, enabling emission-free transport, heating and industrial processes as well as inter-seasonal energy storage. Clean hydrogen produced with renewable electricity is a zero-emission energy carrier, but is not yet as cost-competitive as hydrogen produced from natural gas. A number of studies show that an EU energy system having a significant proportion of hydrogen and renewable gases would be more cost-effective than one relying on extensive electrification. Research and industrial innovation in hydrogen applications is an EU priority and receives substantial EU funding through the research framework programmes. Hydrogen projects are managed by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU), a public-private partnership supported by the European Commission. The EU hydrogen strategy, adopted in July 2020, aims to accelerate the development of clean hydrogen. The European Clean Hydrogen Alliance, established at the same time, is a forum bringing together industry, public authorities and civil society, to coordinate investment. Almost all EU Member States recognise the important role of hydrogen in their national energy and climate plans for the 2021-2030 period. About half have explicit hydrogen-related objectives, focussed primarily on transport and industry. In the European Parliament, the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) is preparing an own-initiative report on the EU Hydrogen strategy. The Council adopted conclusions on the EU hydrogen market in December 2020, with a focus on renewable hydrogen for decarbonisation, recovery and competitiveness.

European climate law

08-12-2020

On 4 March 2020, the European Commission adopted a legislative proposal for a European climate law, setting the objective for the EU to become climate-neutral by 2050 and establishing a framework for achieving that objective. The Commission would be empowered to set out an emissions trajectory for the period between 2030 and 2050. The proposed regulation would also require EU institutions and Member States to build on their climate change measures. The Commission would have to carry out five-yearly ...

On 4 March 2020, the European Commission adopted a legislative proposal for a European climate law, setting the objective for the EU to become climate-neutral by 2050 and establishing a framework for achieving that objective. The Commission would be empowered to set out an emissions trajectory for the period between 2030 and 2050. The proposed regulation would also require EU institutions and Member States to build on their climate change measures. The Commission would have to carry out five-yearly assessments – aligned with the review cycle of the Paris Agreement – of progress made towards the objectives and of the consistency of national and EU measures with the objectives. It would be required to take corrective action and could issue recommendations to Member States whose measures were inconsistent with the emissions trajectory. Moreover, the Commission would have to ensure broad public participation. On 17 September 2020, following an impact assessment presented in the 2030 climate target plan, the Commission amended the proposal to introduce the updated 2030 climate target of a net reduction of at least 55 % of the EU’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared to 1990 levels. In the European Parliament, the proposal has been referred to the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety. The Parliament adopted its position on 6 October 2020, calling for a 60 % emissions reduction by 2030. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Monitoring, reporting and verification of CO2 emissions from maritime transport

22-10-2020

In February 2019, the Commission adopted a proposal to revise the EU system for monitoring, reporting and verification of CO2 emissions from maritime transport, in order to align it with the global data collection system introduced by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The existing EU system requires ships above 5 000 gross tonnes using European ports to monitor and report fuel consumption and CO2 emissions per voyage and on an annual basis, starting with the year 2018. The system entered ...

In February 2019, the Commission adopted a proposal to revise the EU system for monitoring, reporting and verification of CO2 emissions from maritime transport, in order to align it with the global data collection system introduced by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The existing EU system requires ships above 5 000 gross tonnes using European ports to monitor and report fuel consumption and CO2 emissions per voyage and on an annual basis, starting with the year 2018. The system entered into force on 1 March 2018, and reporting starts with the year 2019. The proposed revision aims to facilitate the simultaneous application of the two systems, while preserving the objectives of the current EU legislation. The Council’s mandate for negotiations with the Parliament was adopted on 25 October 2019. In the European Parliament, the ENVI committee has appointed Jutta Paulus (Greens/EFA, Germany) as rapporteur for the file. On 16 September 2020, the Parliament adopted its position and gave ENVI the mandate to start trilogue negotiations. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Marco para lograr la neutralidad climática

30-09-2020

El Pacto Verde Europeo tiene como meta lograr que la UE sea climáticamente neutra de aquí a 2050, objetivo respaldado por el Parlamento Europeo y los Estados miembros. El 4 de marzo de 2020, la Comisión Europea adoptó una propuesta legislativa sobre una nueva Ley Europea del Clima que establece un marco para lograr el objetivo de neutralidad climática. El 17 de septiembre, la Comisión modificó la propuesta con el fin de introducir un objetivo de reducción de las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero ...

El Pacto Verde Europeo tiene como meta lograr que la UE sea climáticamente neutra de aquí a 2050, objetivo respaldado por el Parlamento Europeo y los Estados miembros. El 4 de marzo de 2020, la Comisión Europea adoptó una propuesta legislativa sobre una nueva Ley Europea del Clima que establece un marco para lograr el objetivo de neutralidad climática. El 17 de septiembre, la Comisión modificó la propuesta con el fin de introducir un objetivo de reducción de las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero (GEI) del 55 % para 2030. En cuanto al Parlamento, está previsto que el informe de la Comisión de Medio Ambiente, Salud Pública y Seguridad Alimentaria (ENVI) —en el que se pide una reducción de las emisiones del 60 % para 2030— se someta a votación en el Pleno de octubre.

Reducing CO2 emissions of maritime transport

10-09-2020

CO2 emissions from international maritime transport contribute significantly to climate change. Currently there are two separate, but overlapping systems for monitoring and reporting these emissions: a data collection system (DCS) mandated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the EU monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) system. The Commission has proposed to revise the EU system to align it with the IMO DCS. The European Parliament's Committee on Environment, Public Health ...

CO2 emissions from international maritime transport contribute significantly to climate change. Currently there are two separate, but overlapping systems for monitoring and reporting these emissions: a data collection system (DCS) mandated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the EU monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) system. The Commission has proposed to revise the EU system to align it with the IMO DCS. The European Parliament's Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) seeks to amend the Commission proposal to strengthen its provisions. The report is expected to be voted in plenary in September.

Climate change and climate action

29-07-2020

The coronavirus crisis presents challenges as well as opportunities for policies to address the issue of climate change. Measures taken in reaction to the pandemic have led to a dramatic fall in economic and social activity, and to a corresponding temporary drop in greenhouse gas emissions. Certain behaviour changes adopted during the crisis, such as teleworking and video-conferences, may persist and lead to permanently reduced emissions related to commuting and business travel. On the other hand ...

The coronavirus crisis presents challenges as well as opportunities for policies to address the issue of climate change. Measures taken in reaction to the pandemic have led to a dramatic fall in economic and social activity, and to a corresponding temporary drop in greenhouse gas emissions. Certain behaviour changes adopted during the crisis, such as teleworking and video-conferences, may persist and lead to permanently reduced emissions related to commuting and business travel. On the other hand, use of private cars may increase if public transport is considered as unsafe. The economic crisis has had a negative impact on household or corporate finances, which may lead to reduction or delay to investment in low-carbon technologies. Recovery packages for restarting the economy offer an opportunity for promoting low-carbon investment, but also bring the risk of financing the continuation of emission-intensive products and activities. The postponement of the COP26 climate change conference by one year slows down international climate action, but also offers the opportunity for the Parties to develop ambitious long-term strategies in the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis.

Impact of the coronavirus crisis on climate action and the European Green Deal

14-04-2020

Measures to contain the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic have led to a dramatic reduction in travel and economic activity. In consequence, energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions have fallen sharply. This in turn had an impact on the prices of energy commodities and emissions allowances, which have also dropped rapidly. Thanks to lessons learned after the 2009 economic crisis, which caused a massive surplus of carbon emission allowances in the EU Emission Trading System, a market stability ...

Measures to contain the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic have led to a dramatic reduction in travel and economic activity. In consequence, energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions have fallen sharply. This in turn had an impact on the prices of energy commodities and emissions allowances, which have also dropped rapidly. Thanks to lessons learned after the 2009 economic crisis, which caused a massive surplus of carbon emission allowances in the EU Emission Trading System, a market stability reserve was put in place in 2019 to automatically adjust the supply of allowances to actual demand and prevent a collapse of the carbon price. The handling of the COVID-19 crisis had already led to an economic downturn, reduced tax receipts and increased government spending to support companies and citizens. Stimulus programmes are considered necessary to relaunch the economy after the crisis. While some governments consider that ambitious programmes like the European Green Deal will hinder economic recovery after the crisis, the European Commission and others maintain that the European Green Deal is the growth strategy that can help Europe's economic recovery while at the same time addressing the global climate emergency. The restrictions on travel and large-scale gatherings may also slow down legislative activity related to the European Green Deal, as EU institutions change their calendars, agendas and priorities. Decision-making under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the International Civil Aviation Organization and the International Maritime Organization are also affected by the cancellation and postponement of important meetings and conferences.

COP25 climate change conference: Outcomes

06-03-2020

The COP25 climate change conference took place from 2-15 December 2019 in Madrid, Spain, under the presidency of the Chilean government. It addressed outstanding issues relating to the rulebook for implementation of the Paris Agreement, notably the rules on cooperative approaches. Despite a two-day prolongation, the parties failed to reach an agreement and postponed the decision until 2020. The conference did however make progress on implementation of the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and ...

The COP25 climate change conference took place from 2-15 December 2019 in Madrid, Spain, under the presidency of the Chilean government. It addressed outstanding issues relating to the rulebook for implementation of the Paris Agreement, notably the rules on cooperative approaches. Despite a two-day prolongation, the parties failed to reach an agreement and postponed the decision until 2020. The conference did however make progress on implementation of the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage, and adopted an enhanced gender action plan. A European Parliament delegation attended the conference.

El Pacto Verde Europeo

06-12-2019

El Pacto Verde Europeo es un programa esbozado en las orientaciones políticas de la presidenta entrante de la Comisión, Ursula von der Leyen. Aspira a hacer de Europa el primer continente neutro en términos climáticos para 2050, impulsando a la vez la competitividad de la industria europea y garantizando una transición justa para las regiones y los trabajadores afectados. Preservar el medio ambiente natural europeo y la biodiversidad, una estrategia «De la granja a la mesa» para la alimentación sostenible ...

El Pacto Verde Europeo es un programa esbozado en las orientaciones políticas de la presidenta entrante de la Comisión, Ursula von der Leyen. Aspira a hacer de Europa el primer continente neutro en términos climáticos para 2050, impulsando a la vez la competitividad de la industria europea y garantizando una transición justa para las regiones y los trabajadores afectados. Preservar el medio ambiente natural europeo y la biodiversidad, una estrategia «De la granja a la mesa» para la alimentación sostenible, y un nuevo plan de acción para la economía circular son otros elementos clave. El vicepresidente ejecutivo Frans Timmermans se encargará de dirigir y coordinar los trabajos sobre el Pacto Verde Europeo. Está anunciada para el 11 de diciembre una comunicación de la Comisión al respecto, con vistas a la reunión del Consejo Europeo que se iniciará al día siguiente. El Parlamento Europeo ha programado un debate sobre el Pacto Verde Europeo para el Pleno extraordinario del 11 de diciembre de 2019.

Próximos actos

15-03-2021
EPRS online Book Talk with Vivien Schmidt: Legitimacy and power in the EU
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EPRS
16-03-2021
EPRS online policy roundtable: New European Bauhaus
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EPRS
17-03-2021
Trade related aspects and implications of COVID-19
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