Earlier this month, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development launched a Sustainable Manufacturing Toolkit, with the aim of improving the efficiency of production processes and products in order to contribute to sustainable development and green growth. The toolkit, which is aimed at small and medium-sized manufacturing companies, includes an internationally applicable common set of indicators.
On 20 April 2012, the European Parliament adopted, in Plenary, Jo Leinen’s (Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, Germany) draft report on the review of the 6th Environment Action Programme (EAP) and the setting of priorities for the 7th EAP. In its resolution, the Parliament Invites the Commission to base its future proposal for the 7th EAP on 3 priorities, namely implementation (Climate change, Resource efficiency, Biodiversity, Health), strengthening and integration, and the international dimension.
On 20 April 2012, the European Parliament adopted, in Plenary, Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy’s (Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, the Netherlands) draft report on the EU’s Biodiversity Strategy to 2020. Although the Parliament welcomes and supports the EU’s strategy in this field, it does make a number of suggestions.
On 11 April 2012, CEMBUREAU responded to the European Commission’s consultation on invasive Alien Species. In its response, the Association highlighted that trade and import restrictions could be imposed for alien species which are proven by scientific evidence to be harmful (through a list of restricted species). Regarding management and restoration, the Association noted that the eradication of an invasive alien species which is spreading through the environment and which is causing damage, should be only be undertaken on the basis of a cost benefit analysis.
On 19 April 2012 the European Parliament adopted, in Plenary, MEP Astrid Lulling’s (Group of the European People's Party (Christian Democrats), Luxembourg) draft report on the Proposal for taxation of energy products and electricity. Although the adopted report is, overall, positive, CEMBUREAU regrets the proposed application of sustainability criteria to solid biomass-based fuels. It is also important to note that installations subject to the EU ETSi are excluded from the CO2 taxation aspects of the proposal.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has recently issued a proposed carbon dioxide (CO2) limit from new fossil fuel-fired electric utility generating units (EGUs). According to an article by the World Coal Association (WCA), this proposal would require new fossil fuel-fired EGUs (with a capacity greater than 25 megawatts) to meet an output-based standard equivalent to 454kg CO2/MWh. The Association believes that this limit would prevent new coal–fired units being built in the US unless they are equipped with CCS technology.
On 26 April 2012, the European Commission and the European Environment Agency (EEA) published updated information, for 2010, on releases and transfers of pollutants from industrial installations included in the European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR). The data was provided by delivering countries up until 31 March 2012, and has undergone a preliminary validation process.
On 26 April 2012, the Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSIi, World Business Council for Sustainable development) published the 2010 data from its “Getting the numbers right” (GNRi) project. The GNR covers cement industry CO2 emissions and energy performance data, including 930 individual facilities producing 827 million tonnes cement. According to the CSI, the 2010 data shows certain trends at regional level.
The contributions submitted to the European Commission following the consultation launched in December 2011 on the Draft Commission Guidelines for State aid in the context of the amended EU Emissions Trading Scheme post 2012 are available from the Commission’s website. CEMBUREAU responded to this consultation, arguing that the cement industry should qualify for State Aid under a qualitative assessment.
On 24 April 2012 Mexico’s Senate approved the General Law on Climate Change which gives the Energy Ministry authority to establish a non-binding national emissions trading scheme in which companies can voluntarily take part. The text indicates that participants in the future emissions market can trade CO2 permits with partner countries. The law still has to be signed by the Mexican President.