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What if we could engineer the planet to help fight climate change?

23-02-2021

Efforts to curb carbon emissions are falling short ‒ and geoengineering is again in the spotlight. Will governments end up tinkering with Earth’s thermostat?

Efforts to curb carbon emissions are falling short ‒ and geoengineering is again in the spotlight. Will governments end up tinkering with Earth’s thermostat?

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.

New EU regulatory framework for batteries: Setting sustainability requirements

23-02-2021

Given the important role they play in the rollout of zero-emission mobility and the storage of intermittent renewable energy, batteries are a crucial element in the EU's transition to a climate neutral economy. Global battery demand is expected to increase 14-fold by 2030, making this market an increasingly strategic one. The proposal presented by the European Commission is designed to modernise the EU's regulatory framework for batteries in order to secure the sustainability and competitiveness ...

Given the important role they play in the rollout of zero-emission mobility and the storage of intermittent renewable energy, batteries are a crucial element in the EU's transition to a climate neutral economy. Global battery demand is expected to increase 14-fold by 2030, making this market an increasingly strategic one. The proposal presented by the European Commission is designed to modernise the EU's regulatory framework for batteries in order to secure the sustainability and competitiveness of battery value chains. It would introduce mandatory requirements on sustainability (such as carbon footprint rules, minimum recycled content, performance and durability criteria), safety and labelling for the marketing and putting into service of batteries, and requirements for end-of-life management. The proposal also includes due diligence obligations for economic operators as regards the sourcing of raw materials. The legislative process is in its early stages. In the Council, the proposal is being examined by the Working Party on the Environment. In Parliament, the file has been referred to the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection, which appointed Antonius Manders as rapporteur.

InvestEU programme: The EU's new investment support scheme

22-02-2021

The InvestEU programme is a single investment support mechanism for the 2021-2027 period. It will bring together various EU financial instruments for internal policies previously supported by different funds and programmes of the EU budget. On 7 December 2020, Parliament and Council negotiators reached political agreement on InvestEU. The EU guarantee, set at €26.2 billion, is expected to mobilise at least €372 billion of investment across the EU (in current prices). In addition, at Parliament’s ...

The InvestEU programme is a single investment support mechanism for the 2021-2027 period. It will bring together various EU financial instruments for internal policies previously supported by different funds and programmes of the EU budget. On 7 December 2020, Parliament and Council negotiators reached political agreement on InvestEU. The EU guarantee, set at €26.2 billion, is expected to mobilise at least €372 billion of investment across the EU (in current prices). In addition, at Parliament’s insistence, EIB legacy portfolios will be consolidated with InvestEU, which could mobilise an extra €35-40 billion in investment. Under the national compartment, Member States will be able to allocate amounts to InvestEU from funds under shared management and from the new Recovery and Resilience Facility. Composed of four policy windows (sustainable infrastructure; research, innovation and digitalisation; SMEs; and social investment and skills), InvestEU is designed to contribute to the green transition in various ways, including through investment targets and a horizontal Just Transition Scheme. Parliament is due to vote on the compromise text during its March I 2021 plenary part-session. Second edition. The 'EU Legislation in Progress' briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Climate action in Czechia: Latest state of play

18-02-2021

The EU binding climate and energy legislation for 2030 requires Member States to adopt national energy and climate plans (NECPs) covering the period 2021 to 2030. In October 2020, the European Commission published an assessment for each NECP. Czechia generates 3.5 % of the EU's total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and has reduced emissions at a slower pace than the EU average since 2005. With high levels of energy-intensive industry in the Czech economy, the country's emissions intensity is significantly ...

The EU binding climate and energy legislation for 2030 requires Member States to adopt national energy and climate plans (NECPs) covering the period 2021 to 2030. In October 2020, the European Commission published an assessment for each NECP. Czechia generates 3.5 % of the EU's total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and has reduced emissions at a slower pace than the EU average since 2005. With high levels of energy-intensive industry in the Czech economy, the country's emissions intensity is significantly higher than the EU average, though it is on a downward trend. Energy industries, manufacturing and industrial processes account for 60 % of the Czechia's total emissions. Energy industry emissions have fallen by almost 20 % since 2005, reducing this sector's share of total emissions by 8 %. The Czech economy is heavily reliant on coal and nuclear energy is seen as an essential part of the transition process. Three regions are designated coal regions within the country's RESTART transition programme. Under EU effort-sharing legislation, Czechia was allowed to increase emissions until 2020 and will seek to reduce these emissions by 14 % relative to 2005 by 2030. Czechia achieved a 15 % share of renewable energy sources in 2018. The country's 2030 target of a 22 % share are focused mainly on advanced biofuels, with some solar and wind. Energy efficiency measures centre on building stock, cogeneration and support measures for industry and households.

Climate action in Denmark: Latest state of play

18-02-2021

The EU's binding climate and energy targets for 2030 require Member States to adopt national energy and climate plans (NECPs) for the 2021-2030 period. In October 2020, the European Commission published an assessment of each NECP. Denmark submitted its NECP in December 2019. The country accounts for 1.6 % of the EU's net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Between 2005 and 2018, it achieved a net emissions reduction of 23 %, performing better than the EU as a whole. In addition, the carbon intensity ...

The EU's binding climate and energy targets for 2030 require Member States to adopt national energy and climate plans (NECPs) for the 2021-2030 period. In October 2020, the European Commission published an assessment of each NECP. Denmark submitted its NECP in December 2019. The country accounts for 1.6 % of the EU's net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Between 2005 and 2018, it achieved a net emissions reduction of 23 %, performing better than the EU as a whole. In addition, the carbon intensity of the Danish economy was below the EU average, and decreased more rapidly. In 2019, the country's emissions were concentrated in three sectors – transport, energy and agriculture – amounting to 69 % of total emissions. Developments in the energy sector were particularly notable and serve to explain two-thirds of the reduction in total emissions accomplished since 2005. Regarding emissions under the Effort-sharing Regulation, the emissions reduction target for Denmark has risen from 20 % for 2020 to 39 % by 2030 (compared to 2005). After reaching the 30 % share of renewables target well in advance of 2020, a 55 % target has been set for 2030. In 2019, the 2020 targets relating to energy efficiency had still not been met, and the level of ambition in those areas for 2030 has been revised downwards.

Climate action in Bulgaria: Latest state of play

18-02-2021

EU legislation requires Member States to adopt national energy and climate plans (NECPs) for the 2021-2030 period in order to contribute to the EU's binding climate and energy targets for 2030. Each individual final NECP has been assessed by the European Commission. The assessments were published in October 2020. Bulgaria submitted its final NECP in March 2020, taking into consideration the recommendations of the Commission on the draft report. In the1990s, Bulgaria experienced structural economic ...

EU legislation requires Member States to adopt national energy and climate plans (NECPs) for the 2021-2030 period in order to contribute to the EU's binding climate and energy targets for 2030. Each individual final NECP has been assessed by the European Commission. The assessments were published in October 2020. Bulgaria submitted its final NECP in March 2020, taking into consideration the recommendations of the Commission on the draft report. In the1990s, Bulgaria experienced structural economic changes relating to its transition to a market-based economy. In 1990, the country accounted for total emissions of 103 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent (MtCO2e) (excluding land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) and including international aviation). In 2005, its total GHG emissions decreased by 37 % compared with 1990, while in 2019 they were 44 % below the 1990 level. Bulgaria's NECP identifies several reasons for the reduction in total GHG emissions. These include: structural changes in industry, such as the decline in energy-intensive enterprises, an increased share of hydro and nuclear electricity, implementation of energy efficiency measures in the housing sector, and a shift from solid and liquid fuels to natural gas in energy consumption. However, according to the country report under the 2020 European Semester, Bulgaria is the most GHG-intensive economy in the European Union, and coal is still the main source of energy.

The future of crop protection in Europe

16-02-2021

The overall objective of the future of crop protection project is to present an overview of crop protection options for European farmers to enable them to work sustainably while securing food production, preserving biodiversity and supporting farmers' incomes. The policy options proposed are based on an assessment of current and emerging crop protection practices and their impact on the common agricultural policy (CAP) objectives. This overview shows that several crop protection practices are under ...

The overall objective of the future of crop protection project is to present an overview of crop protection options for European farmers to enable them to work sustainably while securing food production, preserving biodiversity and supporting farmers' incomes. The policy options proposed are based on an assessment of current and emerging crop protection practices and their impact on the common agricultural policy (CAP) objectives. This overview shows that several crop protection practices are under continuous development and have potential to improve future crop protection in Europe. The likelihood that policy options can be implemented successfully depends upon the extent to which they are consistent with the interests of stakeholder groups. These include farmers, suppliers, supply chain partners, consumers and NGOs defending societal interests. Furthermore, it is important that crop protection policy options are embedded in a systems perspective. This should include related areas, such as phytosanitary policy, the entire crop production system, the supply chain, and international trade relationships – which need to be in harmony with the crop protection policy. For each of these crop protection practices, different policy options are proposed, together with an impact assessment.

Autore esterno

DG, EPRS_This study has been written by Johan Bremmer, Marleen Riemens and Machiel Reinders of Wageningen University & Research at the request of the Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA) and managed by the Scientific Foresight Unit, within the Directorate-General for Parliamentary Research Services (EPRS) of the Secretariat of the European Parliament.

Liability of online platforms

05-02-2021

Given the central role that online platforms (OPs) play in the digital economy, questions arise about their responsibility in relation to illegal/harmful content or products hosted in the frame of their operation. Against this background, this study reviews the main legal/regulatory challenges associated with OP operations and analyses the incentives for OPs, their users and third parties to detect and remove illegal/harmful and dangerous material, content and/or products. To create a functional ...

Given the central role that online platforms (OPs) play in the digital economy, questions arise about their responsibility in relation to illegal/harmful content or products hosted in the frame of their operation. Against this background, this study reviews the main legal/regulatory challenges associated with OP operations and analyses the incentives for OPs, their users and third parties to detect and remove illegal/harmful and dangerous material, content and/or products. To create a functional classification which can be used for regulatory purposes, it discusses the notion of OPs and attempts to categorise them under multiple criteria. The study then maps and critically assesses the whole range of OP liabilities, taking hard and soft law, self-regulation and national legislation into consideration, whenever relevant. Finally, the study puts forward policy options for an efficient EU liability regime: (i) maintaining the status quo; (ii) awareness-raising and media literacy; (iii)promoting self-regulation; (iv) establishing co-regulation mechanisms and tools; (v) adoptingstatutory legislation; (vi) modifying OPs' secondaryliability by employing two different models – (a) byclarifying the conditions for liability exemptionsprovided by the e-Commerce Directive or (b) byestablishing a harmonised regime of liability.

Autore esterno

DG, EPRS_This study was written by Andrea Bertolini, Assistant Professor of Private Law of the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna (Pisa), and Director of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence on the Regulation of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (EURA), Francesca Episcopo and Nicoleta-Angela Cherciu, Research Fellows in Private Law of the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna (Pisa), and Junior Fellows of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence (EURA), at the request of the Panel for the Future of Science and Technology (STOA) and managed by the Scientific Foresight Unit within the Directorate-General for Parliamentary Research Services (EPRS) of the Secretariat of the European Parliament.

Nuovo piano d'azione per l'economia circolare

04-02-2021

Passare a un'economia circolare è fondamentale per realizzare le ambizioni dell'UE in materia di azione per il clima, protezione della natura e sostenibilità come pure per apportare vantaggi per l'innovazione, la crescita e l'occupazione. Durante la tornata di febbraio il Parlamento dovrebbe votare una relazione d'iniziativa sul piano proposto dalla Commissione per una maggiore circolarità.

Passare a un'economia circolare è fondamentale per realizzare le ambizioni dell'UE in materia di azione per il clima, protezione della natura e sostenibilità come pure per apportare vantaggi per l'innovazione, la crescita e l'occupazione. Durante la tornata di febbraio il Parlamento dovrebbe votare una relazione d'iniziativa sul piano proposto dalla Commissione per una maggiore circolarità.

Prossimi eventi

01-03-2021
Decarbonising European industry: hydrogen and other solutions (online event)
Workshop -
STOA
01-03-2021
Hearing on Transport of live animals in third countries
Audizione -
ANIT
01-03-2021
Exchange of views with HR/VP Josep Borrell
Audizione -
INGE

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