Issue 46

November 2015

As 200 countries gather in Paris today for COP21 or the the 21st Conference of the Parties (CoP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) there is a growing sense of optimism that an agreement can be secured.  COP21 gets underway this morning under heavy security around the Bourget venue North of Paris. The objective will be to find a legally binding deal that will cap global warming at no more than two degrees above pre-industrial levels.

On Wednesday (2nd December) the European Commission will publish its eagerly awaited Circular Economy package.  According to sources in Brussels, the main difference from the original package that was later withdrawn, put forward by the last Commission, and this new will be the level of ambition in the binding targets it contains.  The objective of the package is to stimulate the shift to an economy where as little as possible is wasted in a world with finite resources and a booming population.

Addressing MEPs in Strasbourg in October, Jean Claude Juncker launched the 2016 European Commission Work Programme.   In this the Commission second work programme President Juncker reaffirmed the EU executive's commitment to the ten political priorities. As a follow up to the State of the Union address, the Work Programme calls on the European Parliament and Council to help deliver quick and effective results in the most important policy areas.

One year since the entry into office of the current European Commission headed by Jean-Claude Juncker, environmental groups have criticised the EU executive for a paralysis in policymaking on issues related to the environment.

First the MEPs, then ten Member States joined over 500 000 citizens in calling for the European Commission not to re draft the Nature Directives as a result of the REFIT that Vice Presidency Franz Timmermans has been leading over the last few months. ENEP and representatives from the new Thematic Task Force attended the REFIT conference on the Nature Directives on Friday 20th November 2015 as one of the contributing organisations.

Coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the European Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS), the EU's environmental management instrument, an international conference was held at the new European Central Bank (ECB) premises in Frankfurt (Main) on 13th November 2015.

The European environment Agency’s — state and outlook of environment report 2015 (SOER 2015) provides a comprehensive assessment of the European environment’s state, trends and prospects, and places it in a global context. It informs European environmental policy implementation between 2015 and 2020, and analyses the opportunities to modify existing policies (and the knowledge used to inform those policies) in order to achieve the European Union's 2050 vision of living well within the limits of the planet.