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Policy Departments’ Monthly Highlights - January 2020

13-01-2021

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.

The link between biodiversity loss and the increasing spread of zoonotic diseases

22-12-2020

Over the last decades, a variety of fatal infectious diseases have had zoonotic origins. The linkages between hosts, vectors, parasites and pathogens can be influenced by a multitude of factors, such as biodiversity, wildlife and land use. High levels of biodiversity may be a potential source of pathogen transmission, but biodiversity loss can also promote transmission by increasing the number of competent hosts for a pathogen. Biodiversity conservation reduces the risk of zoonotic diseases when ...

Over the last decades, a variety of fatal infectious diseases have had zoonotic origins. The linkages between hosts, vectors, parasites and pathogens can be influenced by a multitude of factors, such as biodiversity, wildlife and land use. High levels of biodiversity may be a potential source of pathogen transmission, but biodiversity loss can also promote transmission by increasing the number of competent hosts for a pathogen. Biodiversity conservation reduces the risk of zoonotic diseases when it provides additional habitats for species and reduces the potential contact between wildlife, livestock and humans. Additionally, host and vector management is a viable option. Other crucial measures include the restriction and sanitary control of wildlife trade, while considering the needs of indigenous peoples and local communities. Each case requires an assessment of the best way to reduce risk while considering implications for other ecosystem functions or services. This document was provided by the Policy Department for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies at the request of the committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI).

Külső szerző

Frank VAN LANGEVELDE, Hugo René RIVERA MENDOZA

What if technology and culture combined to boost a green recovery?

21-12-2020

With its recent European Green Deal framework, the EU is striving to achieve climate neutrality in its economy by 2050 and, simultaneously, bring itself on the path of recovery from the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Technology will inevitably play a significant part in this process. However, historical experience tells us that culture and aesthetic have too had significant roles in recovery from a crises, be it war, economic recession, or an epidemic.

With its recent European Green Deal framework, the EU is striving to achieve climate neutrality in its economy by 2050 and, simultaneously, bring itself on the path of recovery from the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Technology will inevitably play a significant part in this process. However, historical experience tells us that culture and aesthetic have too had significant roles in recovery from a crises, be it war, economic recession, or an epidemic.

What if blockchain could guarantee ethical AI?

21-12-2020

As artificial intelligence (AI) companies and other organisations are seeking ways to comply with ethical principles and requirements, blockchain, under specific circumstances, could be seen as a means to safeguard that AI is deployed in an ethically sound manner.

As artificial intelligence (AI) companies and other organisations are seeking ways to comply with ethical principles and requirements, blockchain, under specific circumstances, could be seen as a means to safeguard that AI is deployed in an ethically sound manner.

Climate action: The way ahead [What Think Tanks are thinking]

18-12-2020

In a passionate speech delivered recently at Columbia University in New York, the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, described the fight against climate change as the top priority for the 21st century. Furthermore, the election of Joe Biden as the next President of the United States raises hopes that climate action will now be more coordinated and ambitious. Meanwhile, the European Union is determined to push ahead with its Green Deal in a package of measures that aims to radically cut emissions ...

In a passionate speech delivered recently at Columbia University in New York, the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, described the fight against climate change as the top priority for the 21st century. Furthermore, the election of Joe Biden as the next President of the United States raises hopes that climate action will now be more coordinated and ambitious. Meanwhile, the European Union is determined to push ahead with its Green Deal in a package of measures that aims to radically cut emissions of greenhouse gases while creating jobs in clean industries. The main objectives of the European Green Deal are for the EU to become climate neutral by 2050, to radically reduce other types of pollution, help European companies become world leaders in green products, and offer aid to regions affected by this economic transition. This note offers links to recent commentaries, studies and reports from international think tanks on the Green Deal and climate issues. More studies on the topics can be found in a previous item from these series, published in March 2020.

The potential of hydrogen for decarbonising steel production

14-12-2020

The iron and steel industry is a major contributor to the overall anthropogenic CO2 emissions worldwide, and therefore a significant driver of climate change. This paper explores the possible options for decarbonising iron and steel production processes, focusing on the use of renewable hydrogen as an alternative to fossil coal. It explains the basic physical and chemical differences between the two alternative processes, their cost structures and potential for further cost reductions, as well as ...

The iron and steel industry is a major contributor to the overall anthropogenic CO2 emissions worldwide, and therefore a significant driver of climate change. This paper explores the possible options for decarbonising iron and steel production processes, focusing on the use of renewable hydrogen as an alternative to fossil coal. It explains the basic physical and chemical differences between the two alternative processes, their cost structures and potential for further cost reductions, as well as the larger implications and longer-term consequences of switching to hydrogen in this key industrial sector.

Sustainable economic recovery

11-12-2020

A panel at the 2020 ESPAS conference discussed how to create a sustainable economic recovery after the coronavirus pandemic. Robust governance is needed to get the most out of the new resources created at EU level. Both public funding and private capital are needed for the green transition. Public access to big data sets was identified as a critical issue, to prevent harmful monopolies. A poll of attendees identified dependence on fossil fuels as a key obstacle to a sustainable recovery.

A panel at the 2020 ESPAS conference discussed how to create a sustainable economic recovery after the coronavirus pandemic. Robust governance is needed to get the most out of the new resources created at EU level. Both public funding and private capital are needed for the green transition. Public access to big data sets was identified as a critical issue, to prevent harmful monopolies. A poll of attendees identified dependence on fossil fuels as a key obstacle to a sustainable recovery.

EU water legislation

10-12-2020

During the December plenary session, Parliament is due to hold a joint debate on water legislation, and subsequently to vote on final adoption of the regulation recasting the Drinking Water Directive (DWD) and on a resolution on the implementation of EU water legislation. Revising the DWD is a result of the first-ever successful European citizens' initiative 'Right2Water'.

During the December plenary session, Parliament is due to hold a joint debate on water legislation, and subsequently to vote on final adoption of the regulation recasting the Drinking Water Directive (DWD) and on a resolution on the implementation of EU water legislation. Revising the DWD is a result of the first-ever successful European citizens' initiative 'Right2Water'.

Outlook for the meetings of EU leaders on 10-11 December 2020

09-12-2020

On 10 and 11 December, EU leaders will meet for their 13th meeting of 2020, bringing to a close a year of exceptionally intensive activity for the European Council. EU Heads of State or Government will address a packed agenda, covering most of 2020's key issues: the coronavirus pandemic, climate change – notably the new EU greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets for 2030 – and the fight against terrorism, as well as various external relations issues, such as relations with the US and with Turkey ...

On 10 and 11 December, EU leaders will meet for their 13th meeting of 2020, bringing to a close a year of exceptionally intensive activity for the European Council. EU Heads of State or Government will address a packed agenda, covering most of 2020's key issues: the coronavirus pandemic, climate change – notably the new EU greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets for 2030 – and the fight against terrorism, as well as various external relations issues, such as relations with the US and with Turkey. Two crucial issues, which are not on the formal agenda but could dominate discussions, are rule-of-law conditionality for the 2021-27 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and the EU-UK negotiations. EU leaders are also expected to appoint a new member of the European Central Bank's executive board. The Euro Summit on 11 December will focus on the revision of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) treaty and on progress towards a banking union.

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.

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