The biggest obstacle to achieving an agreement at the Copenhagen climate summit will be disagreements over emission reduction commitments and financing, says the EU’s chief negotiator Artur Runge-Metzger. The United States, for example, wants to see its domestic legislation accepted at international level, while opposing any push to make the Kyoto protocol’s principles underpin a new legally binding climate deal. There also remains disagreement over whether new institutions and a new fund for climate financing are required.
Sectoral approaches to cutting greenhouse gas emissions are still causing enormous confusion, according to the Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSIi), a member-led programme of the World Business Council for Sustainability Development(WBSCD). While the EU has been a strong supporter of sectoral approaches, the EU’s chief climate negotiator Artur Runge-Metzger recently warned that evolving the Clean Development Mechanism (CDMi) from a project towards a sector-based approach could be difficult.
An exchange of views between the European Parliament’s Industry Committee and the Commission on the implementation of the EU’s Emission Trading Scheme (ETSi) also took place earlier this month. The Committee heard that the preparatory work on benchmarking is on track, and that a Regulation on carbon auctioning should be adopted by the end of June 2010.F urthermore, any proposal to protect the carbon market against market abuse would be after 2010, and would go through co-decision.
On 6 November CEMBUREAU participated in the Ad hoc meeting of the European Climate Change Programme (ECCP) stakeholder group on emissions trading covering the issue of benchmarking.
CEMBUREAU is chairing a session on Meeting the Climate Change Challenge at the European Minerals Forum on 25 November 2009. The session will look at the importance of investment in operational efficiency and upgrading buildings for greater CO2/energy efficiency. The forum, which takes place at the Renaissance Hotel in Brussels, will feature four such break-out sessions, all focused on the current European strategy of turning recession into opportunities.
A joint project between the Architects Council of Europe (ACEi) and the Europe Concrete Platform (ECP), to create a common language for sustainable construction, has entered its consultation phase. To ensure that the glossary of terms is as up-to-date as possible, the developers have launched a consultation so that experts can contribute to the project.
CEMBUREAU gave a presentation on the co-processing of alternative fuels in the cement industry at a dinner debate organised by the European Energy Forum this month. The focus of the dinner debate, which took place in the European Parliament, was the key environmental benefits linked to the co-processing of alternative fuels and raw materials in the cement industry. CEMBUREAU pointed out that co-processing in the cement industry offers an environmentally sound solution by substituting non-renewable resources with societal waste under strictly controlled conditions.
CEMBUREAU gave a presentation at the 6th International VDZ Congress on Process Technology of Cement Manufacturing in Düsseldorf, Germany earlier this month. The presentation discussed Best Available Techniques (BATi) in the European cement industry and the outcome of the BREFi revision. CEMBUREAU concluded that it is rather satisfied with the BAT conclusions, which are to be seen as ambitious. CEMBUREAU also pointed out that the cement and lime BREF was the pioneer for the review of the first series of BREFs (see September Eurobrief).
New draft guidance from ECHAi on Annex V of REACHi (exemptions from registration) has been made available, together with an assessment of comments raised on the previous version released in June 2009. Of significance to the cement industry is the fact that the new draft guidance states that the exemption granted to “minerals which occurs in nature, if not chemically modified” will only apply to minerals that fulfil both conditions: (i) occurring in nature and (ii) not chemically modified. No changes have been made to the text with regards to cement clinker.
A two-day conference entitled ‘The New Waste Framework Directive: Towards Transposition’ brought together over 100 participants from the European Institutions, national ministries, industry representations and private companies to discuss the challenges posed by the Waste Framework Directive. The Directive is mid-way through its transposition process. The deadline for transposition is December 2010.
A list of the 156 chemicals registered so far under the EU’s REACHi chemicals regulation has been published by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHAi). The Helsinki-based agency says that it is still finalising its EUCLID-5 and REACH-IT systems, however, and that the full database will not be ready until the end of 2009. ECHA has recently been urged to provide better support to help companies register chemical substances under the EU’s REACH regulation (see September 2009 Eurobrief).
The ECHA list of registered substances is available here:
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHAi) has updated the Questions and Answers for the registrants of previously notified substances. It has also updated Data Submission Manual 5: How to complete a technical dossier for registrations and PPORD notifications.
The new sections provide additional information on when to update a registration that is based on a previous notification, how to claim a registration number for a substance previously notified under Directive 67/548/EEC, how to update confidentiality claims and on minimum data required in IUCLID 5.
An exchange of views with the Commission on the implementation of REACHi was held in Parliament’s Environment Committee earlier this month. Richard Seeber (Group of the European People’s Party, Austria) wanted the Commission to explain why the number of animal tests is much higher than foreseen, and what the Commission is planning to do to tackle this. Jo Leinen (Socialists and Democrats, Germany) inquired into what preparations ECHAi will make for the first registration phase, due to end on 1 December 2010.
The Council Working Party on Energy met earlier this month to examine the proposal to amend Directive 2002/91/EC on energy performance of buildings. A major issue remains the establishment of a deadline by which all new buildings would have to produce more renewable energy on-site than they consume (“zero-energy buildings”). It is likely that any deadline will be set at some time after 2019.
A coalition of environmental NGOs has launched a new manifesto by the name of ‘Cool Products, Warm Homes’ in the European Parliament. The manifesto demands an end to energy waste in buildings and urges MEPs to see through a much stricter Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBDi) that would require all new buildings to be net zero energy. The manifesto also calls on European institutions to enhance the role of the Energy Performance Certificate in order to improve and speed up the renovation of buildings. The group is supported by across party group of MEPs.
The G77 group of developing nations has claimed that the developed world is trying to avoid new binding commitments to cut emissions, accusing them of trying to undermine the Kyoto protocol. This claim stems from EU and US efforts to argue for equal and shared responsibility for climate change, which the G77 claims undermines Kyoto’s clear distinctions between binding emissions reductions expected from developed nations and non-binding measures expected from developing nations.
According to the European Environment Agency, 13 EU Member States are set to exceed national limits set by the NEC Directive on at least one of four major pollutants in 2010. While this is an improvement on last year, when it was predicted that 16 states would fail to meet their air pollution standards, the number of Member States that will exceed their ceilings represents just under half of all the European Union’s members.
Delegates attending the informal meeting of finance ministers in Gothenburg, Sweden, discussed a review of Directive 2003/96/EC, which would restructure the Community framework for the taxation of energy products. László Kovács, Commissioner for Taxation and Customs Union, declared at the meeting that the Commission intends to propose a CO2 tax to reduce emissions from sectors outside the EU Emission Trading Scheme.
Global CO2 emissions from the energy sector could decline by up to 3% this year because of economic contraction, says the International Energy Agency (IEA). The new IEA report says that such a decrease would be the sharpest in 40 years. As a consequence, the IEA has revised its baseline emission projections for 2020 at 5% lower than it predicted last year.
The IEA’s World Energy Outlook will officially be launched on 10 November, and will contain a substantial climate analysis.
A press release from the International Energy Agency can be found here:
A debate on the Draft Report on the convention for the protection of the marine environment: relating to the storage of carbon dioxide streams in geological formations took place in Parliament’s Environment Committee earlier this month. The Committee’s Rapporteur Anna Rosbach (Europe of Freedom and Democracy group, Denmark) said that questions still remain over the damage a leak could cause to the marine environment, and the measures that still need to be taken in case of accidents.