Issue 29

Newsflash
November 2013

1. EEA seek expert assistance in the areas of air, climate change, noise and in relation to certain economic sectors

Deadline 23rd December 2013

The European Environment Agency (EEA) has a service contract out for expert assistance in the areas of air, climate change, noise and in relation to certain economic sectors. The call for tenders comprises of 3 lots of a total value of purchases of 2 250 000 EUR. The opportunity is open to applications from across Europe.

The European Commission is currently holding a number of ongoing public consultations related the environmental field:

1. European Commission public consultation on the Green Action Plan for SMEs 

Deadline: 12th December 2013

Through this public consultation the Commission wishes to collect stakeholders’ views on the most effective support measures for SMEs in all sectors to become more resource efficient and sell internationally green products and services and which actors are best placed to help SMEs in the process.

In the past month indications of how 2030 Climate and Energy package will look have surfaced. The 2030 package will set out targets to succeed the 20-20-20 targets. A leaked impact assessment has shown that the Commission is currently considering six carbon reduction scenarios ranging from 35% to 45%, supported by renewable energy goals of 25-35%.

The Council of the European Union, containing ministers from each EU Member State, has approved the Seventh European Environment Action Programme (which will run until 2020). The plan is entitled "Living well, within the limits of our planet" and replaces the previous plan, which expired in July 2012. The plan was adopted with the support of all Member States except Hungary and Poland.

The Programme sets out nine priority objectives for EU environment policy in the period up to 2020:

During the European Week of Waste Reduction Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik called for a revolution in European waste management. The ambition of the Commission is to accelerate a move up the waste hierarchy, Potočnik told an audience at the WRAP annual conference.

The European Commission has adopted a proposal that requires Member States to reduce their use of lightweight plastic carrier bags. Member States can choose the measures they find most appropriate, including charges, national reduction targets or a ban under certain conditions. Lightweight plastic bags are often used only once, but can persist in the environment for hundreds of years, often as harmful microscopic particles that are known to be dangerous to marine life in particular.

The nineteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 19) for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change is being held from 11 to 22 November 2013 in Warsaw, Poland. In October the Council of the European Union adopted its position for the conference, noting with concern the latest findings of the IPCC. It reiterated the need for emissions to peak by 2020 and be reduced by at least 50 per cent by 2050 compared to 1990 levels, and continue to decline thereafter.

The European Union’s executive, the European Commission has published its 2014 work programme and priorities. The Commission has placed promoting growth and jobs at the heart of the programme. It has argued initiatives proposed at European level should support economic recovery and job creation and tackle the social consequences of the financial crisis. The Commission also stresses that Europe’s challenges also go beyond the economy and that EU action is needed to promote environmental standards.

In a speech delivered on 21 October Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik has spoken in favour of a European strategy for shale gas. Potočnik argued that because of the lack of adequate legislation and proper risk management there was a need for the commission to act. The Commission has concluded that there is a case for a set of common general principles and measures, much along the lines of the ones proposed in the Golden Rules of the International Energy Agency.

The European Parliament Rapporteur on the revision of EU waste shipment rules has put forward his proposed amendments. Bart Staes, a Green/EFA MEP from Belgium has proposed that plans put forward by the Commission in July should also include air transport and require on-site checks.

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