A formal exchange of views on the energy efficiency of buildings took place between the EU and China this month. A Chinese delegation met with EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas to discuss a possible cooperation agreement on energy efficient buildings. In addition, a joint initiative on building codes, labelling and standards for energy efficient building components was announced at the EU-China summit in Brussels on 20 May, as was an agreement to build a carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration plant in China.
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHAi) has published an updated version of the list of pre-registered substances on its website. The list contains around 143,000 substances which were pre-registered by 65,000 companies between 1 June and 1 December 2008. ECHA does not expect all of these substances to be registered. The new list contains a number of improvements, including a better search function and the inclusion of list numbers (in the format of EC numbers) for those substances without a current EC number to make registration easier.
The final draft (following the Information Exchange Forum - IEF) of the revised Reference Document on Best Available Techniques (BREFi) in the Cement, Lime and Magnesium Oxide Manufacturing Industries (CLM), version of May 2009, is now available to the public on the internet. The European IPPCi Bureau (EIPPCBi) has also produced a “coloured” version of the final draft CLM BREF. This coloured final draft allows copying of text and gives the Technical Working Group (TWGi) members the opportunity of comparing the changes during the review of this document.
A stakeholder workshop involving Member States, industry and other stakeholders on European Commission plans to strengthen the implementation of European waste legislation was held in Brussels earlier this month. The workshop follows the launch of a Commission feasibility study, which will weigh up the benefits and costs of creating a dedicated agency to support the implementation of European waste legislation. The consultants carrying out the study sent a questionnaire to the Member States and other stakeholders to collect their ideas on the feasibility of a Waste Implementing Agency.
The Proposal for a Directive on labelling of energy-related products was debated and voted on in the European Parliament’s plenary session this month. The proposal was adopted with amendments by 566 in favour, 28 against and 39 abstentions. The proposal will now go into second reading. The European Parliament also included amendments on extending the scope to certain construction products, defining the responsibilities of Member States and suppliers and on implementing measures.
The European Parliament’s Environment Committee has been appointed as the lead committee on the Commission’s White Paper entitled ‘Towards a European Climate Change Adaptation Programme’. Opinions are also expected from the Development, Employment, Industry, Transport, Agriculture and Fisheries Committees. The White Paper outlines the need for a Clearing House Mechanism where information on climate change risks, impacts and best practices can be exchanged. The European Parliament is likely to react to the White Paper after the June 2009 elections.
The European Parliament has adopted, in first reading, Catherine Neris’ (Party of the European Socialists, France) Report on the proposed replacement of the Construction Products Directive 89/106/EEC by a Regulation. The Report was adopted by 390 in favour to 4 against. Amendments adopted include measures to enhance protection of the environment and the use of Environmental Product Declarations (EPDi) for the impact assessment of construction works. MEPs also want the Commission to increase the range of products covered by harmonised standards.
A group of MEPs has expressed concern over European Commission plans to create a new Directorate-General (DG) for energy and climate.
Greenhouse gas emissions from EU businesses participating in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETSi) fell 3.06% in 2008 compared with a year earlier, according to the European Commission. Furthermore, information provided by Member States shows that there has been a 6.5% reduction in emission allowances for the second trading period.
A €1 billion initiative to encourage environmental innovation in the construction sector was launched this month following a meeting between EU Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potoènik and representatives of the construction sector. A joint statement affirming an agreement to move ahead with a public private partnership (PPP) for Energy efficient Buildings (EeB) was made, which aims to benefit the construction sector at large. The industry accounts for more than 10% of the EU’s GDP and employs 32 million people.
Deutsche Bank has cut its 2009 estimate of carbon emissions from sectors covered by the EU’s Emission Trading Scheme (ETSi). The deepening European recession has prompted the German bank to revise its forecast to 1.97 billion tonnes, down 50 million from a previous estimate of 2.02 billion tonnes. Deutsche Bank analysts singled out the steel and cement sectors as set to suffer a tough year, with emissions set to fall significantly. The bank predicts that there will be 92 million carbon allowances left over by the end of the current 2008-12 trading period as a result.
Sweden, which takes over the Presidency of the EU Council in July 2009, has stated its intention of pushing for an EU-wide tax on carbon dioxide emissions that would apply to industrial sectors not currently covered by the EU’s Emission Trading Scheme (ETSi). Industries currently covered by the EU ETS account for 40% CO2 emissions in the EU, and Sweden wants legislation proposed that would address the remaining 60% of CO2 emissions.
The European Commission plans to adopt a communication on financing carbon capture and storage (CCS) in emerging and developing countries next month. The communication will focus mainly on the NZEC (Near Zero Emissions Coal) project with China, but will also mention capacity building activities on clean coal and CCS technologies with countries like South Africa, India, Russia and Ukraine. The Commission has earmarked €60 million for these activities.
The European Parliament has adopted Silvia-Adriana Ticau’s (Party of European Socialists, Romania) Report on a Proposal for a Directive on the Energy Efficiency of Buildings by 549 votes in favour to 51 against. The vote, originally scheduled for May, was moved forward to April. The Parliament expressed its desire for public authorities to set an example and implement recommendations that would be included in a common EU certificate for the energy performance of buildings.
Scotland has put forward proposals for establishing carbon capture and storage (CCS) plants under the sea bed. A study released by the Scottish Government and the Scottish Centre for Carbon Storage suggests that oil fields that have been closed under the seabed could be used over the next twenty years for CCS purposes. The proposal says that around 50 billion tonnes of greenhouse emissions could be stored under the sea. Some 29 sites are currently under consideration.
The European Parliament’s Report on a proposal for a Regulation establishing a programme to aid economic recovery by granting Community financial assistance to projects in the field of energy was adopted in Plenary earlier this month. Eugenijus Maldekis’ (Union for Europe of the Nations Group, Lithuania) Report was adopted by 526 votes in favour to 64 against with 14 abstentions. The European Parliament voted in line with the informal agreement made previously with the Council. Under this agreement, €1.05bn will be allocated for projects for carbon capture and storage (CCS).
The Information and Exchange Forum (IEF), chaired by the European Commission under the EU’s IPPCi Industrial Pollution Directive, has adopted the Cement & Lime BREFi (Best Available Technique Reference Document). CEMBUREAU is satisfied with the outcome, in particular on energy efficiency requirements and NOxi BATAELS (Best Available Technique Associated Emission Levels).
The Proposal for a Directive establishing a framework for the setting of eco-design requirements for energy related products was voted on 24 April 2009 in the European Parliament. The Proposal was adopted in first reading by 394 votes in favour to 13 against. Compromise amendment 24, which reflects the compromise reached between the European Parliament and the Council, was carried. The compromise widens the scope to all energy related products which have an impact on energy consumption during use.
Swedish Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren met with EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas earlier this month to discuss how Europe should approach the climate talks in Copenhagen in December. Sweden assumes the EU presidency from the Czech Republic on 1 July 2009. Europe’s position ahead of the Copenhagen meeting is likely to be fleshed out at an EU Council meeting in late October.
European Union Environment Ministers urged the leaders of other developed countries to match the EU’s ambitious emissions reduction goals in an informal meeting in Prague, Czech Republic earlier this month. The ministers emphasised that the EU remains the only region in the world to have adopted ambitious targets on climate change. A Presidency Discussion Paper entitled ‘The European Union is adapting to climate change’ is available through this link: