Issue 44


August 2015

The OPEN DAYS – European Week of Regions and Cities is an annual four-day event during which cities and regions showcase their capacity to create growth and jobs, implement European Union cohesion policy, and prove the importance of the local and regional level for good European governance. The event was created in 2003 when the Committee of the Regions invited Brussels-based local and regional representations to the European Union to open their doors to visitors simultaneously.

France has set ambitious energy saving targets in its new energy transition and green growth law (Loi n° 2015-992) passed by France’s lower chamber on 17 August. The law aims to cut the energy consumption of private homes in order to attain a 330-kilowatt hours per oil equivalent (by m2 per year) in 2030. The energy transition law sets targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 on 1990 levels and to increase the share of renewables in the energy mix to 32% by 2030. To achieve this, renewable energy will have to cover 40% of electricity production. 

The 193 member states of the United Nations have agreed on a new Sustainable Development Agenda in New York in early August. The goals will be formally ratified in September and enter into force on 1 January 2016. They will replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were ratified in 2000 and will run out at the end of the year.

The European Commission has opened a public consultation on the ex-post evaluation of Regulation (EC) No. 166 concerning the establishment of a European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (E-PRTR). The E-PRTR website provides environmental data from industrial facilities. Its aim is to contribute to transparency and public participation in environmental decision-making and provides information used for policy assessment and development.

Following an extensive consultation, the European Investment Bank (EIB) has published its draft strategy on climate action. Over the last 5 years the EIB has invested more than €88bn into climate action projects which makes the EIB the largest climate investor in the world. Taking into account feedback and input received from stakeholders throughout the consultation process, a draft EIB Climate Action Strategy is set to be approved in September by the Bank’s board. 

With the closure of the European Commission consultation on the new Circular Economy package this week, a stream of positions and responses have been published advocating on one hand more stringent and prescriptive resource efficiency targets.  RELOOP - a new lobby group representing public, private sctor and NGOs is leading the way in calling for the European Commission to advocate a binding approach to product and packaging policies  when it publishes its formal proposals in the Autumn.

In summary the RELOOP position calls for:-

Meeting in Bonn on the 24th July, the UN climate change negotiating body published a document provides for the first time clarity on what could be contained within the emerging legal agreement in Paris. It also clarifies what decisions with immediate effect could be taken at the moment the agreement is adopted. Finally it starts to identify what further decisions will need to be taken to make the Paris Agreement fully operational before it enters into effect in 2020.

The European Commission has opened a public consultation on the ex-post evaluation of Regulation (EC) No. 166 concerning the establishment of a European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (E-PRTR).

In joint research study published at the end of July between the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Durham University in the UK, researchers believe that birds protected by the Birds Directive are more likely to prosper  faced with threats of climate change and habitat loss.  With the European Commission currently reviewing the Birds and Habitats Directives, as part of the so called fitness check into their effectiveness, the research claims that the Birds Directive is the most effective way to protect

A new study points to the risks of polluting discharges arising from vessels as a result of new Sulphur emissions directive. In a response to the EU Sulphur Directive that came into effect at the beginning of 2015 in the North Sea and Channel region, shipping companies have been looking at ways to reduce the Sulphur based emissions from heavy fuel oil that have traditionally been burnt by ships.  The new directive requires ships operating in the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the English Channel to use marine fuel with a maximum sulphur content of 0.1% now.