A recent Eurobarometer poll of European citizens shows that 75% of Europeans think that alternative fuels should be used to reduce greenhouse gases. This belief was strongest in Greece, Denmark, Slovenia and Slovakia (90%, 87%, 86% and 86% respectively) agreeing with the proposition ‘Alternative fuels such as ‘biofuels’ should be used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions’, while Germans, Maltese and Luxembourgers proved more sceptical (68%, 64% and 61% agreeing respectively).
CEMBUREAU recently took part in the first Cement Trade Associations Policy Workshop, held in Seoul, Korea, the day before the 7th Cement Task Force Meeting of the Asia Pacific Partnership (APP) on Clean Development and Climate.
A Cimeurope Consortium is being put in place to prepare a joint Registration dossier (including the technical dossier, chemical safety assessment, chemical safety report, exposure scenarios and guidance on safe Use) for flue dust from cement clinker production. This substance covers the EINECS entry “Flue dust, portland cement” with EC number 270-659-9.
A study on how the European Commission plans to monitor the effectiveness of implementing REACHi regulations has been published. The Commission will focus on three main aspects: identifying any reduction in chemical risk; analysing the quality of public data on substances and analysing the data on the registration, evaluation and authorisation of substances. These indicators address several central elements and objectives of REACH, e.g.
Hazardous waste shipments out of the EU rose fourfold between 1997 and 2005, according to a recent Commission report on the implementation of EU waste shipment legislation. Nonetheless, 91% of EU hazardous waste was treated in the country of origin in 2005. It is illegal under international and EU law for countries to ship toxic waste to non-OECD countries. Not all countries, however, have sufficient capacity to treat their own waste.
EU energy ministers have indicated that that they are willing to consider a number of amendments to the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, which is currently being recast. The Council of Ministers initially objected to several key elements of the Commission’s proposal and branded the amendments tabled by MEPs as ‘overly ambitious and unrealistic’. After a recent meeting in Sweden, ministers have indicated that they intend to seek common ground with the European Parliament.
The new Swedish Presidency of the EU put the environment at the heart of its priorities for its six-month spell as chair of the European Council. Its major environmental priority will be helping broker an international agreement on climate change at the Copenhagen Climate Conference in December. The Swedes have also called for a review of the EU’s sustainable development strategy, have stressed the importance of adopting an EU strategy to address environmental degradation and will push for a binding international treaty to tackle mercury pollution.
The Major Economies Forum (MEF) which met alongside the G8 summit in L’Aquila, Italy on 9 July 2009 and gathered leaders of all the world’s major greenhouse gas emitters failed to agree on a long-term goal to halve global emissions by 2050. While G8 leaders pledged to reduce their carbon emissions by 80%, this was not enough to convince countries such as China and India, which called for rich nations to make more specific funding commitments and clearer short to medium term reduction targets.
‘Only a small proportion of vulnerable habitats and species protected under EU law have achieved good conservation status’, concludes the European Commission’s Report into the conservation status of over 1150 species and 200 habitat types across Europe. The Report recommends Member States to strengthen their efforts to improve the biodiversity situation and criticises governments for not investing sufficient resources in monitoring species and habitats. Grassland, wetland and coastal regions are identified as the habitat types most at risk.
A new report by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s (WBCSDi) Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSIi) has put forward a target of ‘zero landfill’ of concrete via concrete recycling. It argues that recycling, for example, by breaking concrete down into aggregates to be used in road works or as aggregates in new concrete, reduces the use of new virgin aggregates and decreases the associated environmental costs of exploitation and transportation. It also keeps a greater amount of landfill land free.
The Commission presented a new working document to the Agriculture and Fisheries Council about adapting policy to the pressures resulting from climate change on 13 July. The paper aims to engage Member States and farmers in a debate about the ways in which agriculture will need to adapt to changing climatic conditions. The paper states that climatic variations will have consequences for the availability of water resources and the quality of soil, and in some regions increase the risk of flooding.
Jo Leinen, the veteran socialist MEP, has been appointed chair of the new European Parliament’s Environment Committee. Leinen, best known for his role in drafting the Lisbon Treaty as chair of the Constitutional Affairs Committee in the previous European Parliament, as well as for his work as an anti-nuclear campaigner in Germany, will hold the position for a term of two and a half years.
A recently conducted Eurobarometer poll (Flash 256) entitled ‘Europeans’ attitudes towards the issue of sustainable consumption and production’ has explored the views that European citizens hold on product sustainability. The poll, which surveyed the attitudes of citizens in all 27 EU Member States plus Croatia, revealed that a large majority of respondents (8 in 10) feel that a product’s impact on the environment is an important element when deciding which product to buy (34% ‘very important’ and 49% ‘rather important’).
According to a report released by market analysts Point Carbon, the global carbon market has shown rapid growth in the past year, confounding World Bank predictions that the global carbon market would lose around a third of its value in 2009.
The global carbon market – worth €46bn in the first half of 2009 – increased 22% in the space of a year, largely as a result of the recession. As the economic situation worsened, notes the report, many depressed industry sectors in Europe decided to trade their surplus carbon allowances. The ETSi is worth €39bn or 84% of total market value.
A recent report from the climate NGO Sandbag urges the EU to tighten caps on energy and industrial emissions for 2020 to ensure that greater cuts are achieved. The NGO claims that a 30% cut would be cheaper than the originally planned 21% reduction and moreover states that in the event of a global deal in Copenhagen, a cut of 40% would be easily achievable.
The Swedish Presidency of the European Council, which begins on 1 July, has promised to begin negotiations with the European Parliament on a package of draft energy efficiency laws covering buildings, energy labelling and tyre labelling. Talks are due to begin in September. Sweden is intent on achieving a first-reading agreement on these laws by the end of 2009.
Council Conclusions on the Commission’s White Paper: Towards a European Climate Change Adaptation Programme have been published. These conclusions were adopted without further discussions on 25 June. The White Paper outlines actions needed to strengthen the EU’s position on climate change ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (see April Eurobrief). The conclusions emphasise the need for all Member States and sectors to adapt to climate change.
A progress report on the energy efficiency package has been published by the Council. The report covers proposals on energy labelling, tyre labelling and the energy efficiency of buildings. The draft framework Directive on energy labelling was generally well-received according to the report, with the extension of the scope from certain types of household appliances to energy-related products welcomed. Some delegations, however, expressed doubt on the inclusion of construction products.
EU Environment Ministers narrowly reached a political agreement on the recast of the Directive on Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control, now renamed Industrial Emissions Directive (IED), earlier this month, during the last Environment Council of the Czech Presidency. Issues of relevance for the cement industry are contained in Annex VI, Part 4, entitled Technical provisions relating to waste incineration plants and waste co-incineration plants. The Council has agreed on the provisions that CEMBUREAU has been advocating for, i.e.
The price of carbon in the EU is likely to increase from around €15 per tonne to €40 by 2016, according to market analyst Point Carbon’s latest carbon market brief. Such an increase is vital in order to meet the EU’s current emission reduction targets of 20% below 1990 levels and any possible increased reduction targets that may be discussed at the UN’s Copenhagen summit this December. By creating a surplus of allowances however, the current economic crisis could make it politically easier for the EU to commit to a 30% cut in Copenhagen.