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.
The eight countries that sued the European Commission over its decision to tighten their emission caps have not experienced a dramatic fluctuation in the number of carbon allowances, according to industry analyst Point Carbon. The Court of First Instance last month ruled that the Commission had exceeded its powers when formulating National Allocation Plans (NAPs) with Estonia and Poland (see September 2009 Eurobrief). The Court subsequently annulled Commission decisions limiting the number of EU allowances the two countries receive between 2008 and 2012.
Commission proposals to allocate €1.05 billion to seven carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects in Europe were presented recently to Member States. The projects in Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, the UK, Italy and France would each receive up to €180 million in EU funds. (See June Eurobrief).
The Draft Regulation establishing a programme to aid economic recovery by granting financial assistance to projects in the field of energy is available here:
The European Commission has announced plans to overhaul the EU’s VAT system in a bid to prevent fraudulent practices connected with the EU ETSi. There have been alleged cases where carbon traders kept the VAT instead of notifying it to tax authorities. The prevalence of these so-called VAT “carousel ”fraudsters could make it difficult for the EU to promote cap and trade systems at the forthcoming climate change talks in Copenhagen.
The European Commission recently presented the results of a stakeholder consultation on a proposed new carbon allowance auctioning regulation. The consultation period ran from 3 June and 3 August 2009. CEMBUREAU’s contribution was in line with the general outcome of the consultation. While weekly auctions are the unanimous minimum frequency desired, the vast majority of businesses stated that they will need early auctions in order to help them estimate their costs in advance.
An exchange of views on a draft European Commission measure on sectors deemed to be exposed to a significant risk of carbon leakage took place in the European Parliament’s Environment Committee earlier this month. This was the Committee’s first debate on the Commission’s proposed list of sectors at risk. The cement industry qualifies as a sector vulnerable to carbon leakage, with an increased cost of induced directly by the Emission Trading Scheme (ETSi) of 55.06% (see May 2009 Eurobrief).
Parties to the 1999 pan-European Gothenburg protocol on air pollution discussed stricter limits for dust emissions at a meeting of the UN’s Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)in early September. The new limits would be included in an annex of a revised version of the Gothenburg protocol and would affect dust emissions from refineries, combustion plants and other major industrial installations in sectors such as cement, and steel and waste incineration.
CEMBUREAU took part in a recent meeting of the Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSIi), a member-led programme of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSDi). The event took place in Sao Paulo, Brazil on 1 September 2009. Some 70 participants from around the world attended to discuss key sustainability challenges facing the cement industry, in areas such as health and safety, greenhouse gas emissions management, biodiversity and technology.
CEMBUREAU has launched its Cement Industry Open Week, which will run from 23 September until 4 October. Events are being held across Europe in order to highlight the role played by concrete in relation to sustainable construction.
The European Court of Justice has dismissed a Commission request to annul Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 June 2006 on shipments of waste (OJ 2006 L 190, p. 1) on account of the fact that it is based solely on Article 175(1) EC and not on Articles 175(1) and 133 EC. Establishing Article 175(1) EC as the sole legal basis for the contested Regulation is significant as it restricts the competence of the EU, and confers competence on the Member States in the area of regulating exports and imports of waste.
A second informal stakeholder meeting to discuss the creation of an EU waste implementation agency was held earlier this month. At the meeting, Member States acknowledged that there were “serious problems” in law implementation across many parts of Europe and agreed that this was something that should be addressed.
European Commission Vice President and Enterprise and Industry Commissioner Günter Verheugen has warned against cutting the European Chemicals Agency (ECHAi)’s budget. He told Parliament’s Environment Committee that the proposal from EU Member States to cut the budget from €30 million to €25.3 would undermine REACHi.
Concerns regarding the confidentially of information submitted by companies in REACHi IT and REACH Information Portal for Enforcement were raised during ECHA’s board meeting in September. Alain Perroy, Director General of CEFIC, said that it was the responsibility of ECHA and the Board of Management to ensure that confidential information received by the agency was not disclosed, and pointed out that the commercial damage caused by such a leak could potentially be huge.
Industry is likely to be able to see the text of agreed changes to Safety Data Sheet (SDSi) requirements before the end of the year, according to ECHAi. Although the Regulation is likely to be published in February or March 2010, the text should be available for scrutiny by industry in November. SDS requirements are laid down in Annex II of REACHi. A draft EU Regulation designed to align these requirements with the CLPi Regulation will be presented to the REACH Regulatory Committee on 20 October, and, if approved, will likely see the Regulation published early next year.
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHAi) has said that further IT tools to help companies submit classification and labelling (C&L) notifications are expected to be available in February or March next year. Although companies can currently submit notifications now using IUCLID 5.1 (see previous article), ECHA has suggested that companies should wait until the new IT tools are available. One of these will be a new version of IUCLID (5.2) which will include a classification, labelling and packaging (CLPi) notification template for the creation of dossiers.
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHAi) has been urged to provide better support to help companies register chemical substances under the EU’s REACHi regulation. Only 123 of 651 full registration dossiers submitted so far have been accepted by ECHA. The remaining dossiers have been resent to applicants because they were considered incomplete.
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHAi) has made a call for information on the reproductive toxicity of a specific chemical substance in September. According to ECHA, the aim of the call is to receive relevant data with a view to making sure that animal testing is carried out only as a last resort. This is the first time that this type of public consultation, which is foreseen by the REACHi Regulation, has been made. In this instance, the registration concerns a new substance with a complex and variable composition that cannot be made public by ECHA.
The first amendment to the Regulation on test methods for chemicals under REACHi (Reg 440/2008) has been published in the European Union (EU)’s Official Journal. The European Parliament and the Council both adopted the Commission proposal without changes. The Regulation was modified to add four new test methods and update two existing ones, including a new in vitro test method designed to reduce the number of animals used in testing chemicals for skin irritation, specifically rabbits which are most commonly used.
The Working Party on Energy has met a number of times this month to discuss proposed amendments to Directive 2002/91/EC on the energy performance of buildings.
The Commission has proposed that the Directive’s scope be extended in order to cover buildings that are less than 1000m2. As approximately 70% of buildings in the EU are under 1000m2, this would create new energy performance requirements for the majority of buildings in Europe.
In an address to the European Parliament’s ITRE Committee in the first week of September, Sweden’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Industry, Maud Olofsson, spoke of the need to ‘send a clear message to the international climate negotiations in December in Copenhagen’. Particularly important, she stressed, would be reaching an agreement with the European Parliament on the energy efficiency package.