CEMBUREAU has been selected to participate in Partner Expert Groups (PEGs) which will look into the updating and drafting of several REACHi guidance documents. These include guidance on waste and recovered substances, guidance on risk communication and guidance on exposure scenarios for waste life cycle stage and corresponding exposure estimates. CEMBUREAU has also been asked to be part of the PEG for extended SDSi, though the selection for this has not yet been made.
During its meeting on 8-9 December 2009, the REACHi Committee adopted the proposal for the revised Annex II of REACH (SDSi-Safety Data Sheets). The approved text (dated 12 January 2010) has been sent to the European Parliament for consultation under the comitology procedure with scrutiny. The European Parliament now has 3 months to react. CEMBUREAU is currently preparing updated SDS templates for clinker and cement.
The European Re-Building Forum will hold an exploratory meeting on 19 January 2010 in Brussels. The Forum will be a physical platform to encourage exchange of views among stakeholders on retrofitting existing buildings to accelerate the implementation of the 28% cost-effective savings potential in buildings by 2020.
The agenda can be found here: www.epe.be
CEMBUREAU attended the Construction Information Platform’s Steering Group on 22 January to discuss the provision of a tool to facilitate access to EU information relevant to the construction sector. The web-based tool, to be called "constructioneurope.eu", has already undergone pilot development. The aim now is to upgrade certain features such as the search function, widen the information available to include information from Member States and practical information for SMEs, expand the service to 9 languages and migrate the tool to the Europa server.
A political agreement on the Commission’s energy performance of buildings recast proposal was reached in the Energy Council on 07 December 2009. Both the Swedish Presidency and the Commission expressed their satisfaction at the adoption of the energy efficiency package – which also includes Commission proposals on energy labelling and tyre labelling - just a year after it was proposed.
The Commission has decided not to proceed with a proposal that would have made sustainability criteria for biomass used to generate heat and power legally binding. It is likely instead that the Commission will publish a non-binding recommendation for Member States on the issue. There is also likely to be a review by the Commission in 2011 on the need for legally binding criteria.
The European Commission rejected 92 out of 97 requests in December for extending Member States deadlines to meet EU air quality standards as set out by Directive 2008/50/EC on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe. Almost all the requests related to limits on concentrations of particulate matter (PM10) that should have been met in 2005. The Commission did, however, extend PM10 limits in five zones in Poland until 2011.
The Directive 2008/5/EC on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe can be found here:
On 19 January, the European Commission issued a communication on Options for an EU vision and target for biodiversity beyond 2010’. The document highlights that, together with climate change, the loss of biodiversity is the most critical global environmental threat and that, in addition, it gives rise to substantial economic and welfare losses. In terms of what has been achieved so far, the communication draws attention to several pieces of legislation, including the 2006 Biodiversity Action Plan and the EU Birds & Habitats Directives.
In an open letter to the European Parliament and the European Commission, the Alliance for a Competitive European Industry (ACEIi) has called on the EU not to unilaterally shift its own target from the existing -20% to -30%. Instead, the ACEI has called on the EU to:
Efforts to develop sectoral approaches to reducing greenhouse gas emissions did not go well at Copenhagen, according to the chair of the working group on long-term cooperative action (AWG-LCAi). Many European companies have sectoral agreements as a way to shield them from carbon leakage risks. The Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSIi), a member-led programme of the World Business Council for Sustainability Development (WBSCD), warned back in November that sectoral approaches were still causing confusion.
The UN climate change conference (UNFCCC) COP15 in Copenhagen ended in December 2009 with a great deal of publicity but few concrete achievements. The summit concluded with a declaration that failed to receive the full backing of all UNFCCC parties. This declaration lacks certain elements that the EU had declared as crucial, including collective targets for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. The conference failed to set a 2010 deadline for concluding a treaty, and does not mention the need for a legally binding agreement.
A carbon tax for sectors not covered by the EU ETSi, starting at €15 per tonne, has been adopted by the Irish Parliament. There are no exemptions except for ETS sectors. The tax will apply to transport and non-transport fuels (kerosene, marketed gas oil, fuel oil, LPG and natural gas) from May, pending parliamentary approval in January 2010. The implementation deadline for solid fuels, such as coal, is yet to be agreed upon.
The main features of this tax can be found in Annex E of this Irish government report:
The European Commission has approved the allocation of €1.05 billion to seven carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects in Europe. The projects are situated in Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, the UK, Italy and France. Each will receive up to €180 million in EU funds (see June 2009 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 implementation of carbon capture and storage technology (CCS) on a large scale could help the cement sector reduce its emissions by 18% by 2050 compared with current levels, estimates the International Energy Agency (IEA). Between 20 to 33% of existing kilns will be replaced by new ones before 2020, says the agency, and there is potential for between 40 to 45% of these to be equipped with CCS between 2030 and 2050. IEA stresses, however, that CCS technology will only be possible if the risk of carbon leakage is effectively addressed.
Opposition from the UK, Germany, Spain and Poland to European Commission proposals for a centralised system of auctioning carbon allowances in the EU ETSi from 2013-20 could mean that the proposal is delayed. A draft proposal was due to be sent to Member States for review at the end of 2009, but this will now not be submitted until 2010. Some Member States wish to maintain their own systems.
EU Finance Ministers approved in December an amendment to EU VAT (value-added tax) rules in a bid to prevent fraudulent practices connected with the EU ETSi (see November 2009 Eurobrief). There have been alleged cases where carbon traders kept the VAT instead of notifying it to tax authorities, and there have been fears that the prevalence of these so-called carousel fraudsters could undermine the system.
Commission Decision 2010/2/EU determining a list of sectors and subsectors which are deemed to be exposed to a significant risk of carbon leakage has been published in the European Union’s Official Journal (OJ). Under the Decision, 164 sectors and subsectors will receive free carbon allowances from 2013 onwards according to stringent benchmarks. The 164 sectors and sub sectors on the list account for around a quarter of total EU ETSi emissions and just over three quarters of manufacturing emissions covered by the scheme.
The ambitious target of the French government to implement a CO2 (carbon) tax from 1 January 2010 has been thwarted by the Constitutional Council ruling that the proposed tax would infringe the principle of equality before public charges and, as such, be unconstitutional.
A new EU-US Energy Council, which aims to deepen transatlantic dialogue on strategic energy issues, has been launched. The Energy Council will study diversification of energy sources, such as through increased use of liquefied natural gas (LNG), solar power, wind power and biofuels, and the use of nuclear power. It will also discuss how to effectively promote global energy security on the basis of transparent, stable and non-discriminatory global energy markets and diversified energy sources.
On 25 November, the European Minerals Forum was held in Brussels. The five topics discussed during this year’s edition were: