Issue 52

November - December 2016

Green Bonds have experienced extraordinary growth since they were first issued in 2007.  That is the conclusion of a new study published this week by the European Commission.  The study that looks at the functioning of green bond markets also identifies key bottlenecks and measures to overcome them so they can fulfil their huge potential.As a follow up to "Clean Energy for All Europe

A European Environment Agency (EEA) report has been published that contains examples of the different transitions needed in terms of technology, urban planning and societal behaviour to make transport more sustainable. The EEA report ‘TERM 2016: Transitions towards a more sustainable mobility system assesses the progress that Member States are making to improve the environmental performance of transport in line with related EU policy targets.

Substantial progress in cutting greenhouse gas emissions, air and other pollutants, and improving energy and material efficiency, needs to be complemented by more actions by Member States to fully apply agreed-to policies to better protect biodiversity, natural resources, and people’s health. These are the key findings of a new European Environment Agency (EEA) report which reviews key trends and outlook towards achieving EU 2020 environmental objectives.

The effectiveness of the EU Forestry sector has been questioned by MEPS recently. Commissioner Phil Hogan was forced to accept that the MEPS questions were justified as he sought to defend the Commission’s right to legislate in the sector.

Watch the exchange here now

On 6th December 2016, the Council agreed its stance on a proposal to extend the lifespan of the European fund for strategic investments (EFSI), the EU's flagship initiative under its 'investment plan for Europe'.  The agreed compromise involves extending the EFSI in terms of both duration and financial capacity, mobilising at least half a trillion euros of investments by 2020.

Land degradation and taking land for urban development threaten critical ecosystem services, including provision of food and water, climate regulation and recreation. A new report, by the European Environment Agency (EEA), shows how land recycling, such as reusing neglected sites and turning roads or parking lots to green spaces or residential areas, can have positive impacts on the environment and support Europe’s transition towards a circular and green economy.

The Dutch government wants to stop connecting new houses to gas grids and ban cars powered by fossil fuels and stip renewables subsidies in sweeping changes under its new long-term energy plan.The strategy calls for no new gas networks to be built for new houses and new buildings must be nearly zero energy. Residual energy needs can be met in most cases without gas, according to the plan, which foresees the development of alternative heating sources such as geothermal energy and better use of waste heat.  The document titled “energy agenda” sets out the government’s “gradual” energy transit

The European Parliament is on course to confirm its position on waste proposals central to the EU’s circular economy package in February, according to the lead MEP Simona Bonafè (S&D). The proposals were retabled by the Commission last December downgraded the 2030 recycling target for municipal waste from 70% to 65% and for packaging waste from 80% to 75%. The rapporteur, Simona Bonafé MEP underlined that the Parliaments goal is to limit the landfilling of municipal waste to a maximum of 10% by 2030 should be tightened to 5%.

The European Commission has co-produced a new interactive tool consisting of 3 million satellite images collected over the past 32 years. The Global Surface Water Explorer is a new online interactive mapping tool that will be accessible to everyone and serve to improve European and global policies for example on climate change and water management. The maps, developed by the Commission's Joint Research Centre and Google Earth Engine, highlight changes in the Earth's surface water over the past 32 years.

As a contribution to the European Solidarity Corps, the European Commission launched a LIFE call for preparatory actions for the deployment of European Solidary Corps volunteers to support the conservation of Natura 2000 sites.  The European Solidarity Corps is a volunteers-based initiative that will allow young people to make a hands-on contribut