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Transcript of Metamorphosis #60
This first half of the year will see a set of proposals from the Commission that will to a large extend determine whether the EU will go on a green economy path. It started with the Resource Efficiency Flagship and will be followed by a Low Carbon Roadmap for 2050 together with a White Paper on Transport and a new Energy Efficiency Action Plan, a new Biodiversity Strategy, a Raw Materials Initiative and a Resource Efficiency Roadmap. These are all still orientation papers, outlines of what the Commission intends to translate into concrete measures later, but in June it gets really serious: the concrete proposals for the new Common Agriculture and Fisheries Policies, Cohesion Policy and the next EU Multi-Annual Financial Framework.
In times of economic and financial crisis, and the social and political consequences faced in many member states, Commission leadership is important. It is in a better position to look at common European and longer term interests, and it has a new instrument available: the European semester (see below).
The Resource Efficiency Flagship produced under President Barrosos personal responsibility, the last of seven flagships to elaborate the Europe 2020 Strategy published on the 26th January, is a good contribution. The Commission shows it understands that resource efficiency is about much more than responding to increasing prices for resources that are traded on the global markets, such as oil and gas, rare earth, other metals and minerals. It also explicitly mentions food, soil, water, air, biomass and ecosystems. It recognises that intensive use of worlds resources puts pressure on our planet. and it concludes: Continuing our current patterns of resource use is not an option.
The tone of the Flagship, as well as other elements of the Europe 2020 Strategy (like the Industry Flagship) reflect a growing awareness also that environmental policies have led to new industrial activities with export potentials and new jobs - often called green jobs - and that this has a great potential for the future EU economic strength. And at the same time not addressing our excessive ecological footprint will hurt economic and social progress.
GETTING THE GREEN ECONOMY
UP AND RUNNING
By John Hontelez, EEB Secretary General
January 2011Newsletter # 60European Environmental Bureau
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However, the Flagship is still not clear enough about the dimension of the challenge we are faced with. It is not just a matter of trying to use resources more efficiently, we need to clearly reduce resource use in absolute terms, and maintain the natural resource base from which we are dependent. The Belgian Presidency launched for that matter the concept of sustainable resource management and indeed that is the direction to go, based on a set of targets and timetables reflecting the reality of the EU now being more than 2.5 times a sustainable ecological footprint.
So all the following strategies need to get specific: our economy and our consumption patterns have to become considerably less resource and energy intensive, while avoiding the trap of shifting around the problem, for example by increasing the use of chemicals or nanomateri-als when they have (or likely to have) adverse health impacts. When moving from mineral to renewable resources we must avoid driving the ecosystems that deliver these renewables into collapse. This is a great challenge but one we cannot avoid. Creating clarity is essential by setting targets and timetables, to use the EU budgets consistently for climate, biodiversity
and resource management and to broaden and intensify the use of standard setting and economic instruments.
President Barroso, in a meeting with the leaders of the European environmental organisations in January expressed his support for green fiscal reform as an essential part of making the market work for the environment. The Resource Efficiency Roadmap is quite clear about this saying that taxes and subsidies on the use of energy and other resources can be used both to steer behaviour leading to reduced and more efficient consumption and to help restructure public finances away from labour taxation, which benefits job creation and economic growth.
However, Barroso is faced with the ongoing resistance of member states to work on this at the EU level. Yet the new mechanism of the European Semester gives the Commission a tool it did not have before: in response to the budgetary crises in several member states and the threat this has caused for the Euro it was agreed that all member states, also outside the Euro-zone, from now on reports its plans for the following budgetary year by March to the
Commission. The Commission can then make proposals to the European Council to advise individual member states before they finalise their draft budgets. The objective is to prevent member states working with budgets with large deficits and/or with weakly founded income and/or expenditure estimations from 2012. This then provides the Commission with a new opportunity to promote green tax reform, being consistent with Europe 2020 and the EU Sustainable Development Strategy.
Setting course to a greener economy is not an easy task in a context of economic crisis and austerity. The key question however is not whether we will exit this crisis but how we will do this without increasing the risk of preparing the next one. With the adoption of the Resource Efficiency Flagship the Commission is on the right track with making the case, providing the key arguments and pointing to the measures that now need to be taken. But only by making sure these measures will in the end also be adopted can the EU ensure that we are making headway towards a greener economy that protects rather than destroys our resource base and to create jobs that have a future.
2European Environmental Bureauwww.eeb.org
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Belgian environmental organisations have closely followed the Belgium EU Presidency. Flemish minister Joke Schauvliege presided over the Environment Council, and participated in both European and international summits. This resulted in positive outcomes on the international stage, mainly due to a skilful diplomatic group. On the European level, however, the environmental organisations miss concrete outcomes.
Biodiversity played a central role during the EU Presidency. During the UN summit in Nagoya participating countries secured a positive
outcome: a strategic plan for the coming decade and a long-awaited Access and Benefit Sharing Protocol were accepted. The Belgium Presidency successfully united EU member states, and has as such contributed significantly to the Nagoya success. The EU showed a lack of ambition concerning the financing for developing nations however, a position that the Presidency did not manage to turn around.
Climate change was the second issue with international allure on the Presidencys agenda. After the failure of Copenhagen, the EU took on a role of bridge builder: for instance, by opening up a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol they managed to restore some confidence among developing countries. On issues like hot air and land use change, however, the EU was less constructive. At EU level the Belgium EU Presidency did not manage to push the debate on a move to 30% emissions reductions forward, let alone convince EU members to commit to such a target.
The relative lack of decisiveness at EU level can further be illustrated by looking at energy policy. Binding energy efficiency targets, for example, were never seriously discussed. With the 4th February energy summit and the long-expected energy efficiency action plan to be published beginning of March, a strong position of the Energy Council on this issue could have made a real difference.
Of course the Belgium EU Presidency did not only address biodiversity, climate and energy issues. On www.10greendemands.be you can also consult the evaluations of the Belgian environ-mental organisations on MDGs, cradle-to-cradle, environmental health, and GMOs.
By Marie Cors, EEB board member, with Damien Vincent and Jan Vandermosten of WWF
Visit eeb.org to read the EEBs assessment of the Belgian EU Presidency.
BELGIAN PRESIDENCY: SUCCESS ON WORLD STAGE, LIMITED IN EU
January 2011Newsletter # 60
In this issuep.1 Editorial
Getting the Green Economy Up and Running
p.2 Belgian Presidency: Success on World Stage, Limited in EU
P.3 Ten Tests for the Hungarian Presidency
p.4 Expectation for the Hungarian Presidency
p.5 Interview with John Hontelez with Mikael Karlsson, EEB President
p.6 2011: The Year of Green Energy Products?
p.7 A Vision for Future Agriculture
p.8 European Environment: State and Outlook 2010
p.9 Hazardous Substances: Choose Prevention Over Control
p.10 Campaign Updates
p.11 Hot off the Press
p.12 EEB Events
1. GREENING THE EUROPE 2020 STRATEGY Agree on a low carbon roadmap 2050 that convincingly shows how the EU can reduce, in an environmentally sound manner, greenhouse gas emissions by 90% by 2050, with concrete - and where possible legally binding - measures included straight away to move in that direction. Produce national reform programmes in agreement with civil society organisations that concretely contribute to sustainable development by focussing on energy savings, substantially increased resource efficiency and protection of biodiversity.
2. FINANCIAL PERSPECTIVES 2014-2020 Organise formal or informal input from the Environment Council on the orientation and conditions of EU environmental funding, including the means of climate and biodiversity proofing of EU budget payments, preventing any environmen-tally damaging subsidies.
Promote positive engagement with stakeholders and European Parliament as to how the next MFF (including structural and cohesion funding), can be oriented to deliver on the EUs sustainable development objectives, including by fighting climate change, promoting resource efficiency, protecting and enhancing biodiversity, and a clean and safe environment.
3. IMPLEMENTING A REAL ENERGY SAVINGS AGENDA Ensure the new Energy Efficiency Action Plan is on the table of the European Summit on Energy on 4th February.
Introduce a legally binding absolute energy use reduction target of 20% by 2020, with appropri-ate specific targets.
Ensure a fully revised Energy Tax Directive with substantially increased minimum levels to above 39 Euros per tonne/oil equivalent.
Give retail power companies responsibility and financial incentive to promote and implement energy efficiency measures in households, SMEs and industry.
Launch a major initiative for energy savings oriented deep renovations of existing building stock throughout the EU.
Introduce new innovative and reliable financial mechanisms, including through green investment banks for energy savings measures.
4. FIGHTING CLIMATE CHANGE Carry out an immediate assessment of the outcomes of Cancun and of the EU strategy in the
climate talks in 2010. Seek effective, decisive and immediate implemen-tation to agreements made. Follow the Commissions assessment and adopt the 30% emission reduction target based on domestic action, with a view to further assess-ments on raising this to 40% domestically. Set in place the full annual amount of 2.4bn Euros, new and additional, and transparent, EU contribution for the fast start financing, made available with immediate effect. Set clear figures on the EUs contribution (at least 35bn Euros/year by 2020) to go directly to developing countries for mitigation and adaptation support. This support must be new, additional to national ODA commitments, predictable and binding. Put pressure on Commission to produce a legal proposal on handling Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) impacts in biofuels production and seek rapid agreement.
5. IMPLEMENTATING THE BIODIVERSITY STRATEGY A solid commitment to meet the conservation objectives set under the Habitats and Birds Directive as well as the Water and Marine Strategy Framework Directives and to match this with sufficient financing. A robust commitment to the development of a set of new policy instruments including a Directive on Invasive Species and a policy on green and a call on the Commission to develop the necessary proposals. A central role for biodiversity, in line with the Nagoya agreements, in the role out of the EU 2020 Strategy and relevant flagship initiatives, most notably the one on resource efficiency. Work on the adoption of the Soil Directive.
6. REFORMING THE CAP Focus on rewarding farmers for delivery of public goods. Strengthening of 2nd pillar, and greening of the 1st pillar. Intensive involvement of the Environmental Council, including through a joint meeting with Agriculture Ministers, on setting the environment protection priorities of CAP. In any case, no step backwards compared with the Commissions proposals with regards to environmental improvements.
Ensure that the legislative proposal mentions High Nature Value farming systems because of its environmental and social importance, that the CAP
TEN TESTS FOR THE HUNGARIAN PRESIDENCYpayments support NATURA 2000 network and that the agri-environmental schemes are reinforced.
7. GMO CULTIVATION Ensure a new moratorium on the cultivation of GMOs until the current authorisation system is significantly strengthened and rules in line with the 2008 Council conclusions, guaranteeing Member States the right to decide whether or not they should cultivate GM crops in their territory are in place.
Work to put in place a rigorous, comprehensive, coherent and mandatory regime for the risk assessment of GMOs.
8. IMPROVING PUBLIC HEALTH PROTECTION With regards to the Novel Foods Regulation: ensure that fundamental research on hazard and exposure is undertaken before further marketing of nanotechnology applications, and develop systems for good governance, already in the R&D stage; and ensure the introduction of labelling requirements for all existing applications of engineered nanomaterials. Insist the Commission comes with revisions of the Noise and National Emission Ceilings Directives in 2011.
9. MERCURY: GLOBAL LEADERSHIP AND GOOD EXAMPLE Ensure the adoption of new and robust EU Mercury strategy including the phasing out of use of mercury in the chlor-alkali industry, in dental care and button cell batteries; and taking action regarding emissions from coal-fired power plants.
Ensure proper implementation of the EU Mercury Export ban regulation from 15th March 2011, and the safe storage of the excess mercury by adopting appropriate criteria for the safe storage of mercury and by further examining the possibility to extend the scope of the export ban
to include mercury containing products which are already prohibited on the EU market.
Ensure continuation of EU leadership role in UNEP Mercury Treaty negotiations
10. REVERSE UNSUSTAINABLE WASTE TRENDS Secure the collection, reuse and recycling ambitions of the WEEE recast and strengthen the implementation of the individual producer responsibility principle; set specific collection targets for cooling and freezing appliances, mercury containing lamps, small appliances and ICT products containing scarce resources;
require harmonized registration and fight against leakages from official routes and illegal shipments. Put pressure on the Commission to finally come out with a Directive that effectively creates the conditions for optimised biowaste management by setting clear drivers for high quality compost and anaerobic digestion in order to prevent biowaste to be further landfilled or incinerated.
Environmental aspects are weakly represented amongst the Presidency priorities, hidden under Stronger Europe. Hungarian NGOs including EEB member NSC-FoE Hungary therefore aim to draw more policy and public attention to the green issues, warning that no stronger Europe, no stable development and employment can be reached without maintaining ecosystem services, without leading the economy to a more sustainable, low carbon and resource efficient path.
If current trends continue the EU is set to miss its 2020 primary energy savings target by half, which proves the necessity of adopting a legally binding absolute 20% energy use reduction target by 2020. This opportunity lies open for the
Hungarian Presidency since the new Energy Efficiency Plan and the low carbon Roadmap 2050 are on the Presidency agenda. Energy savings and efficiency are often mentioned as a priority but in practice a business-as-usual scenario is followed instead, forgetting that the needed technologies exist and meeting the target can mean savings of up to 78 billion annually, 1 million new permanent jobs and improved energy security and competitiveness by 2020 for the EU.
Also, meeting the energy efficiency target would help the EU to meet its current and future, more ambitious - climate targets in a cost effective way. More commitment and ambition
is needed here as the current EU 20% target is not leading to the 2050 roadmap target which has a 80-85% reduction target for 2050.
Furthermore, the EU needs to re-gain its credibility as a key actor in the climate negoitations. Consequently under the Hungarian Presidency, the EU needs to follow the Commissions report and adopt a domestic-action based emission reduction target of 30%, committed to further investigate raising this target to 40% domestically.
Last but not least, if the EU wishes to demon-strate that climate justice is not just another slogan, its financial contribution to the developing countries should be transparent and additional.
The EU attitude towards biofuels seems to be changing. The Hungarian Presidency should urge the Commission to produce a legal proposal on handling Indirect Land Use Change impacts in biofuels production and promote an agreement as soon as possible.
Finally, it is in the interest of the whole EU that a strict mandatory regime for the risk assessment of GMOs be established and a new moratorium be ensured on the cultivation of GMOs, guaranteeing the freedom of cultivate-GMO- or-not decision for member states.
By Alexa Botar, NSC-Friends of the earth Hungary
Visit eeb.org to read the EEB Memorandum to the Hungarian Presidency.
EXPECTATION FOR THE HUNGARIAN PRESIDENCY
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4European Environmental Bureauwww.eeb.org
I believe I first met John Hontelez a bit more than a decade ago when I entered the EEB board as Swedish EEB representative. Since then it has been a great privilege to learn from and work with John, particularly during the last five years when I have had the honour to chair and represent the EEB as its President.
Behind the firm stance one can see John take in environmental debates he is an open-minded, attentive and dynamic person who cares about people in our organisation in a humble way. I have met few people who are so dedicated to environmental protection and participatory democracy and I admire the integrity that John has been standing for as a front person for the EEB and its huge membership.
Looking back, the EEB has grown considerably during the 14 years of Johns intensive and successful leadership. EEB has changed a lot in this period, not least by engaging new members in accession countries which are now in many cases new member states. With John at the helm EEB has secured an important presence at high policy levels within the EU institutions, as well as an indispensable relevance for our membership. This has enabled us to successfully influence a wide range of policy issues, including environ-mental democracy rights, the sustainable development strategy, securing REACH, the EU chemicals policy, the 6th and recently regarding the 7th environmental action program, as well as a high number of specific legal dossiers and enforcement issues. In these ways, John has contributed to make the EEB as the largest environmental organisation in the EU one of the most important players on EU environmental policy over time.
Today, we feel confident that we can continue to develop the EEB and further strengthen its impact. Much of this is possible thanks to the outstanding efforts of John and we will miss Johns presence in this context, but I am confident that he will continue our common struggle under his new umbrella with the same skill and dedication as for the EEB.
John, why have you decided to leave the EEB?I have worked for EEB for more than 14 years and it has been a privilege and a great job from beginning to end. It was a privilege to be accepted as a relevant player in discussions and decision making processes that are so crucial for the EUs environmental performance now and in the future. However, from the start I was convinced that I should not do this for much more than 10 years and that I should pick up at least one more challenge before retirement. In the end it has been 14 years, because this role set such a high standard compared to other jobs.
It seems that many people think you could have stayed for a longer period?That is nice to hear of course and it proves that I am not leaving too late but I became increas-ingly worried that I wouldnt see possible new approaches to our work. After being in one place for so long you can of course become used to certain ways of working, so the time felt right to move on now, and let a successor see how the EEB can become even more effective.
Do you think much needs to change at the EEB?Change: not really. Improve: always! The EEB members also by and large agree that the current wide focus should be maintained, as laid down in the Long Term Strategy the EEB adopted two years ago. And working with members should in my view also remain the key characteristic of the EEB.
This is also confirmed by the appreciation of the EEB Ive been hearing recently from people in the Commission, Environmental Ministries, European Parliament and civil society organisations.
But of course there is always space for improve-ment: staff capacity here is much too small, and I think we can still find ways to mobilise the membership further. There is a lot of space to growth still I think.
Looking back the 14 years, where you think the EEB has had the biggest political impacts? That is always a difficult question, as success has many parents. One thing where I really think the EEB has made a difference is in strengthening the role of environmental organisations in what are now the new member states, during the accession process and thereafter.
We supported NGOs in those countries with specific information, trainings, inviting them to join EEB, and we helped them become more recognised by their own authorities.
They are now more aware of the content and importance of EU environmental law than many of our western members and while they struggle because of reduced funding and a not so friendly political and media environment, they have become increasingly relevant in their societies. However this obviously has its limits and in many situations NGOs are struggling to be heard, and much more can be done to support them. Im certain of that.
A concrete success has been the 6th Environmental Action Programme (EAP). DG Environment in 1999 was not keen on proposing one because (for the first time) such a Programme would have to be negotiated with the Environment Ministers Council and the European Parliament. We felt the EAP would be even more useful if it would become a legal text agreed by the three institutions, so we mobilised Members of the European Parliament to seek a commitment from Margot Wallstrm, who had to go through a Parliament hearing in order to become Environ-ment Commissioner. This worked and from the start we had a good working relationship with Wallstrm on this. However the 6th EAP was limited in many ways, such as no timetables and its marginalisation of the prevention and precaution principles.
HONTELEZ SAYS GOODBYE: 'THE EEB WILL BE MORE NECESSARY THAN EVER BEFORE' AN INTERVIEW WITH EEB PRESIDENT MIKAEL KARLSSON
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January 2011Newsletter # 60
It was already known that EEB was pro-active on this theme and parliamentarians and national environment ministry officials were approaching us for a quick response. We delivered and we even had an official discussion with the Environment Council in February 2001. That meeting set the tone, and after more than a year of negotiations we saw a final version with more targets and timetables, a deadline for the themat-ic strategies, a stronger waste policy, etc. This does not mean that everything went fine from that moment, but this EEB intervention did have concrete impacts on the implementation.
At the moment we are facing a similar situation: the 6EAP will run out next year, there is again reluctance in the Commission to come with a new one, with as a major concern the co-decision procedure with Council and Parliament it will have to go to. EEB is of the opinion that such a 7EAP has to come and will continue to work hard on this. Our first success, which we share with the Belgian Presidency, is the clear call for such a 7EAP by the Environment Ministers Council in December last year.
A third issue I am proud of is our ability to work with other stakeholders, in a practical manner. The relationship with the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) dates from before my time but I have intensified it further. We had common actions on promoting green jobs and environ-
mental fiscal reform, we worked together on standardisation and, together with the Platform of European Social Organisations we have systematically pushed for a Lisbon Strategy that would support sustainable development. In 2009 this evolved to the Spring Alliance. But perhaps the most politically important result of this coalition was the opportunity to be to cooperate constructively with ETUC about REACH, one of the hottest fights we had in the last decade here on a new chemicals policy.
EEB has also worked - and still does - with companies. They are interested in this not because we have a public profile but because we have knowledge and tactical experience and we recognise when companies are serious with supporting eco-innovation. Such cooperation has been particularly relevant for our work on product requirements and related waste policies, as well as energy savings.
How do you see the future of the EEB?The EEB will be more necessary than ever before. Protecting and improving the state of the environment is even an EU Treaty obligation, but we are in a constant competition with the demand for resources and space in order to feed an ever increasing, clearly unsustainable production and consumption model. Choices have to be made, tough choices, and it is clear
given the economic integration and globalisation that this has to happen mostly at the EU level. The EEB has made a big difference and can do so in the future if the members invest in it, if the institutions appreciate the essential liaison role the EEB plays and the EEB continues its role of mobilising beyond the environmental movement. The EEB has a dedicated staff, an involved board and a good reputation; an excellent base.
What's next?I will start as Chief Advocacy Officer for the Forest Stewardship Council. FSC is a successful initiative to bring sustainable development into practice: it requires environmentally and socially sound forest exploitation and it creates a market for the resulting products. Its a platform where environmental and social organisations work together with business at an equal footing. I have been asked to coordinate FSCs engagement with public policies and legislation on forest and forest certification The EU will be an important target for my work, as it is a player in the fight against illegal logging and protection of biodiversity globally. And it is setting criteria for ecolabels and green public procurement, which for FSC cannot be missed. Even though the EU is just one of my working areas, I will work from Brussels so I will certainly remain in contact with the EEB, its staff and my successor.
We hope this year will be the year ecodesign really has an impact on products throughout Europe. The EU is uniquely placed to ensure all products meet Europes environmental needs because they tend to be manufactured on an EU - or even world wide level.
The Ecodesign Directive then has the chance to shape greener products in homes and save the climate, environment and billions of euros.
The Ecodesign Directive is a powerful instrument which has so far delivered more than any other
policy on energy and climate. The implementation measures decided in 2009 would save more than 340TWh of primary energy by 2020 - the equivalent of the average annual energy consumption of 80 million EU citizens - and about 150 megatonnes of CO2 - the equivalent of taking more than 50 millions cars off the road. 2010 was unfortunately a poor year regarding savings through the ecodesign decisions, but studies have been conducted which could lead to a vintage 2011 year for ecodesign.
To make the most of this instrument in 2011 and integrate it better in a broader resources policy, we need to mobilise the NGO community at EU and National levels. That is the mission of the Coolproducts campaign.
What is the Coolproducts campaign?The Coolproducts campaign was initiated in 2009 by a group of European NGOs, including EEB.
2011: THE YEAR OF GREEN ENERGY PRODUCTS?
The launch of Energy Savings in Practice at the European Commission in Brussels
6European Environmental Bureauwww.eeb.org
Environment should be a priority for the future Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The proposals for a reform of the CAP which is due to be finalised this year - come at a critical time when Europe is faced with the challenge of tackling the degradation of ecosystems and the services they provide, such as clean water, healthy soils and rich biodiversity; all of which are vital to securing long term food and environmental security.
The current CAP has many flaws: it has been seen as socially unfair, has a poor environmental record and distorts the economy. It is therefore plain for all to see that the reform has a big opportunity to turn these problems around.
EEB is convinced that a clearer and more balanced vision for a green CAP is necessary to set European farming on the road towards sustainability, ensure long term food security and ensure a more efficient use of public funds. On the back of the European Commissions Communication on the future of the CAP, the EEB held a conference to debate its future in November last year. The stage was set to help paint a picture of where the CAP should go and how it can be shaped to tackle modern challenges.
At the meeting John Hontelez, Secretary General of the EEB highlighted the urgent need for a change in the EU agricultural practices by referring to some results of the State of
Environment Outlook prepared by the European Environmental Agency (EEA) launched the same day.
Georg Hauesler, Head of Cabinet of Agriculture Commissioner Ciolos, then presented the Communication and went into the philosophy and principles behind the proposal. He insisted on the fact that there is an urgent need for sustainable practices in the future and that has a huge impact on the environment - positive, as well as negative. He pointed out that the big challenge of today is to find a right balance between becoming more competitive and at the same time having a more sustainable approach. He mentioned the need for a clear deal. He also brought up the issue of the greening of the first pillar, saying that this was necessary in order to increase the baseline environmental requirements but that the measures included in this greening should not add any additional red tape and should be easy yearly controllable measures.
A VISION FOR FUTURE AGRICULTURE
Its ultimate goals are to secure ambitious environmental requirements for products, as well as to accelerate the decision making on implementation measures. In fact the more demanding the requirements and the quicker they enter into force, the more effectively we save energy and reduce the environmental impacts of products. The campaign is funded by European Climate Foundation and articulates technical expertise, lobbying activities and communication work.
Tremendous potential, not to be missedThe Ecodesign Directive perhaps does not receive the recognition it deserves. To try to overcome this knowledge gap, the Coolproducts campaign has recently released Energy Savings in Practice which looks at the possible impacts Ecodesign can have on energy savings and GHG emissions. The study reviews the potential effects of taking decisions on two heating products categories (boilers and water heaters) and four types of consumers goods (TVs, fridges, washing machines, and domestic lighting).
The study shows that if decisions are taken to progressively remove products from the market
which are not at the most cost-effective level when comparing purchase price to energy bills, EU citizens could save billions of euros every year while reducing their energy consumption and carbon emissions significantly
Heating appliances alone represent 25% of all our CO2 emissions and if we have ambitious targets for these products alone with more ambitious efficient production of heat - the EU would save at least one third of its Europe 2020 targets regarding climate change.
To communicate these findings, the Coolproducts campaign organised a stunt in front of the Commissions Berlaymont building: campaigners disguised as angry and impatient penguins handed over the Energy Savings in Practice study to Ms Merkies, S&D MEP, while the Commissioner Oettinger cabinet officially refused to welcome our study.
In 2011 a set of products will be considered for decisions and the campaign will be focusing on these five product groups to ensure that ecodesign measures are as ambitious as possible, saving money for consumers as well as saving the climate and environment.
EEB coordinating the Coolproducts campaign in 2011The first goal is to extend the network of committed NGOs at national level. As a matter of fact, implementation measures on Ecodesign are still decided under old comitology procedures, meaning national experts and member state representatives play a key role in the final outcome of the Ecodesign Directive. Influencing the position of member states would be essential to secure ambition. In that perspective, EEB will first mobilise its own members and seek support in partner NGO networks, notably Friends of the Earth, WWF, and consumer organisations.
2011 is to be a decisive year for energy savings and climate change through product policy and if the outcome is as strong as possible they can meet 50% of our 2020 carbon reduction targets. The Coolproducts campaign intends to make it happen and calls on civil society to make decision makers and the media understand that ambitious measures will be benefit both the environment and the citizens pockets.
Do not hesitate: visit the Coolproducts.eu website and get involved.
By Stephane Arditi,
EEB Waste and Products Senior Policy Officer
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January 2011Newsletter # 60
The conference was then followed by intensive discussions. The morning session aimed at presenting the state of play and the current problems of the CAP (problems of the efficiency of cross compliance, Agri-environmental schemes in the second pillar, etc) and the afternoon session confronted the vision of various MEPs and representatives of member states and NGOs on the Communication.
It was clear that the level of expectations regarding the reform varied between speakers and it shows that it will be a challenge to find a consensus. However, it was clear to everyone that
a more sustainable European agriculture system is urgently needed and that public money spending has to be better legitimated (public money for public goods). The CAP is addressed to the farmers but is supported with public money and the amount of money devoted to its implementation should therefore be justified and more understandable to the taxpayers.
This conference was a first step ahead into the intense discussions that will take place until the adoption of the reform proposals and gave a flavour of where the agreements can stand and where the potential disagreements will raise.
What is needed now is strong pressure from the national level to ensure the CAP is as green and as fair as possible. We need to insist on a real greening of the first pillar in particular and national Ministries and members of Parliament can help with this. It will be a long codecision process, with the Council adopting its conclusions in March and the Commission is expected to present its following legislative proposal in July.
A full Report of the conference is available on eeb.org
By Faustine Defossez, EEB Agriculture Policy Officer
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Europes increasing demand for natural resources and depletion of ecosystems will undermine its economy if left unchecked according to the European Environment Agencys State and Outlook 2010 assessment released in November 2010. Much of the cause of this has been put down to our consumption habits, where Europe is currently consuming more resources than it has, with a 34% increase in consumption1 in the EU-12 between 2000 and 2007.
At the EEBs annual conference in October 2010 Jacqueline McGlade, EEA Executive Director, unveiled parts of the assessment and told delegates that much more needs to be done to decouple resource use more from economic output, and that while climate change is one indi-cator of our planets ecological decline there will be other risks to ecosystems in the future.As in the report, she highlighted the need to increase biodiversity protection, suggesting that the upcoming revision of the Common Agricul-
tural Policy (CAP) would be a good way to start with this. The decline in fossil fuels use will put a greater demand on alternative energy sources and there will be pressing demands on using biomass.
There has been progress on biodiversity, with the expansion of the Natura 2000 network and less pressure on habitats from air and water emissions, but the EU did miss the 2010 target. But the report was concerned by the heavy influence human activities such as agriculture, fishing and forestry is having on the natural world. About half of Europes land is currently farmland whilst natural areas are becoming increasingly fragmented by urban areas and the development of infrastructure.
This also has a huge global implication, says the report, which might be beyond the control of European policy makers. With the worlds population heading towards the 9 billion mark by
2050 more people will be aspiring to a better quality of life, having huge implications on global demand of resources. For instance, more people will migrate to cities which will in turn increase consumption as people generally expect economic growth. In short: the current model is not sustainable.
The report warns that the race into the unknown offers opportunities, but will also bring new risks and that all environmental resources such as biodiversity would have to be fully considered in production, consumption and trade decisions.
Public opinion or a public narrative must also be focused on as there appears to be a decline in public concern on environmental issues, particularly since the Copenhagen climate talks. This is partially also the case because increasing numbers of Europeans are moving into towns and cities and loosing experience of the natural world, the report said of a number of countries.2
The report does note that there have been substantial environmental improvements in Europe but as ever much more needs to be done.Malta and the Netherlands used the least resources per person in 2007 while Ireland used the most. On average a European uses 16 tonnes of materials with half of that being waste much of which comes from mining and construction however (8% from households).
EUROPEAN ENVIRONMENT: STATE AND OUTLOOK 2010
8European Environmental Bureauwww.eeb.org
On 21st December 2010 the European Commis-sion presented its proposal for a reviewed Seveso Directive, on the control of major- accident hazards involving dangerous substances1
it covers thousands of industrial establishments where dangerous substances are present in large quantities.. The review was about to be finalised when the red mud disaster in Hungary occurred.
The Commission justified the need for review because of a change in the EU system of the classification of dangerous substances and deficiencies identified in the member states implementation reports. However, it states that the frequency of major accidents has fallen by 20% between 2000 and 2008 and that this downward trend suggests that the Directive is
meeting its objectives and that overall the existing provisions are fit for purpose and that no major changes are required.
However that trend is misleading and does not give a complete picture of the existing hazard potential. According to a recent EEA report2 the number of major accidents have increased steadily since 1998, but since then the number of industrial accidents have been more or less stable (about 28 accidents a year).
Unfortunately even this database used does not paint the real picture. A French database contains 30,000 accidents and incidents that have occurred since 1992 in France alone. The overall findings are that severe accidents still do happen
at the same rate, despite technological progress and increased knowledge.
About 10,000 installations, mainly consisting of the (petro) chemicals, storage and metal refining sector are covered by Seveso in the EU. However the scope of that Directive is far from comprehen-sive since it only concerns stationary establishments that store or process certain dangerous substances above a defined quantity threshold. Therefore vehicles such as lorries and freight trains transporting large quantities of hazardous substances are excluded.
There are some recent examples of accidents outside the Seveso Directive scope - and not accounted for - were major accidents that nevertheless involved hazardous substances covered by Seveso such as the explosion of two parked road tankers transporting Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in May 2007 and a derailment of a LPG freight train in June 2009 which cost 32 lives and triggered the evacuation of 1,000 people.
Pipelines located outside a Seveso facility are also excluded: a recent accident was the explosion of a gas pipeline in Ghislenghien, Belgium in 2004 that ran under an industrial park. 24 fire-fighters and staff died of severe burns and 132 people were injured. A section of the pipe weighing more than 1 tonne was catapulted 200m away from the explosion crater of about 10m wide and 4m deep. In all, the 35,000 km of oil pipelines in Europe are not covered by Seveso.
HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES: CHOOSE PREVENTION OVER CONTROL
Waste management was highlighted as one positive, which is steadily moving towards recycling and prevention and away from landfill, although half of the three billion tonnes of EU waste was still landfilled in 2006, with Bulgaria landfilling the highest percentage.
A big warning was towards transport emissions, which rose a quarter between 1990 and 2008. If further action was not taken on overall emissions, McGlade said transport will continue to stick out like a sore thumb and curb any progress regarding climate targets.
What is striking about the report is the clear need to start taking a deeper, more holistic approach towards environmental problems. A biodiversity policy alone is good but in the long term may do little if industry, regulators and citizens do not change their current habits. Like five years ago, the EEA again points to the need for environmen-tal fiscal reform as one of the key components for an effective environmental policy.
"There are no quick fixes but regulators, businesses and citizens need to work together and find innovative ways to use our resources
more effectively," said McGlade. "The seeds for future action exist: the task ahead is to help them take root and flourish."
2 For instance, UK: http://www.eea.europa.eu/soer/countries/uk/country-introduction-future-develop-ments-united-kingdom
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January 2011Newsletter # 60
Whats the latest news from EEBs campaigning frontlines?
Commission delays revision of major air legislation until 2012On January 18th the College of Commissioners met in Strasbourg to discuss the EUs future legislation on air pollution. The meeting was followed by a statement by the Environment Commissioner Potocnik announcing that the National Emissions Ceilings (NEC) Directive would not be revised until 2012 or 2013, when the review of other air legislation was due to happen.
The statement follows repeated calls by Environmental NGOs across Europe for an immediate revision of the NEC Directive. The NEC Directive is a central piece of EU air legislation and its revision would set new emissions limits for 2020. This revision was foreseen in 2007 but has been repeatedly delayed by the European Commission, despite the many calls from EEB and its members.
In his statement, Commissioner Potocnik acknowledges that the NEC Directive has been proven to be effective and that it has delivered significant positive impacts for human health and the environment. However, the Commis-sioner still decided to postpone further the revision, giving the priority to other policy areas such as energy, transport and agriculture. It remains unexplained how action in these areas would help improve air quality when new ceilings for 2020 are missing.
EEB and its members have stressed that that the cost-benefit analysis available on the Commissions own website shows that the
Is the 7th Environmental Action Programme on track?
The Belgian Presidency, and in particular the Brussels Environment Minister and Ministry, worked hard towards a decision on a 7th Environmental Action Programme (EAP) and we hope the Hungarian, Polish and Danish Presidencies will follow this lead. This 7EAP should follow up the 6th which officially expires mid 2012 but in fact has run its course already.
The Presidencys activities, in combination with work done by the EEB itself, mobilised a large number of member states to speak out in favour of this EAP, which became under doubt because of the reluctance of the Commission to commit itself. The most important events were the EEB Annual Conference on the 1st October,
benefits of a revised NEC Directive to health, environment and the economy will significantly outweigh the costs involved. These benefits are valued at between 22 and 70 billion per year.
EEB has also outlined that the implementation of the current ceilings for 2010 by member states can be seen as relatively encouraging. According to the European Environment Agencys latest report and recent declarations by member states, 91 out of the 108 ceilings were expected to be met in 2010, with several of the expected breaches being minor (few percentage points) and three of them involving small nations Malta and Luxembourg, which have a minimal impact on the overall pollution levels in the EU.
By Louise Duprez, EEB Air Policy Officer
co-sponsored by and with active involvement of the Belgian Presidency, and the 1.5 day conference organised by the Presidency itself in November.
Politically however the most important lasting result is the clear call from the Environment Council on December 20th for a new Environmental Action Programme by early 2012, accompanied with a list of what this EAP should focus on. This was a unanimous statement, meaning that also more reluctant Ministers agreed with the majority that this push towards the Commission was needed.
What is more, the Environment Council made some specific comments that frame the work. The 7EAP should be proposed not later than early 2012 by the Commission and it should have a time horizon till 2020, so that it is consistent with other major policies of the EU (Europe 2020, climate, biodiversity, agriculture policies and so on).
It wants the 7EAP to present an ambitious vision for EU environmental policy for 2050 addressing persistent environmental problems in a global sustainable development context and, clearly identifying priorities and environmental objectives, as well as realistic and achievable targets and timetables, for 2020.
It also made a number of other comments that give hope that the Council will, once the Commission comes with its proposal, be supportive of a 7EAP that really sets out what is needed to make substantial improvements in environmental performance of the EU for the rest of this decade, based on a longer term vision.
EEB will now first concentrate on the upcoming evaluation of the 6th Environmental Action Programme, and further promote the ideas it has put into its initial position on the content of the 7EAP.
For more information visit the 7EAP activities section on eeb.org
By John Hontelez, EEB Secretary General
10European Environmental Bureauwww.eeb.org
EU POSTPONES CLEANUP OF BIOFUELS POLICY AGAINHopes of a sustainable future for EU biofuels policy were dealt a blow following the European Commissions to delay a critical decision on how to account for the impacts of indirect land use change (ILUC). Environmental groups including the EEB are calling for the immediate revision of biofuel sustainability criteria to take ILUC impacts into account.
ILUC is a result of fields of food crops being converted for biofuel production. Additional farm land is needed to grow the displaced food somewhere else in the world, causing rainforests, grasslands and ancient peatlands to be ploughed up to meet the demand. This releases huge quantities of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, has severe impacts on people and threatens some of our most valued biodiversity worldwide.
Faustine Defossez of the EEB commented: A policy promoting biofuels that save emissions on paper but not in reality is doomed. The only way out of this scenario, and to secure a future for biofuels, is to start accounting for all emissions associated with its use, including indirect land use change.
Visit eeb.org to read the full story
EU TAKES STEPS TOWARDS RESOURCE PROTECTIONThe European Commissions resource efficiency flagship initiative released in January is a step towards ensuring a sustainable economy and future for the EU and was welcomed by environmental group EEB.
The European Commission has recognised the need to conserve energy, natural resources and raw materials in order to drive innovation and the future competiveness of industry and economies . EEB has long supported this aim and points to the fact that as it stands the EU is on a dangerously unsustainable path, consuming the equivalent resources of almost three planets.
John Hontelez, Secretary General of the EEB said: It is good to see that the Commission is making the right choice for resource protection rather than resource grabbing. Resource efficiency is not only needed due to increasing market prices but to end our overuse of natural resources like forests and fish. The EU is taking its first steps towards sustainable resource management, and not a moment too soon.
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EU LEADERS FAIL TO MEET FULL POTENTIAL OF ENERGY SAVINGSEuropean leaders let an opportunity pass them by on 4th February when they openly admitted to a lack of progress on energy savings, yet stopped short of kick starting any new action to improve it, says EEB. The environmental group welcomed the attention given to energy at the European Council, but was left disappointed by the lack of commitment to genuine action from Heads of State.
According to the EEB, the few practical initiatives that were proposed failed to tackle some of the toughest challenges that could help to open up significant savings. EEB felt that Heads of State and Government could have given a clear signal to the Commission, when it finally comes out with its new Energy Efficiency Plan next month, to present a binding target indeed, together with the necessary actions to achieve this. EEB referred to the European Parliament, which has explicitly called for such an approach.
Reduced energy use can help to bring significant benefits, including energy security and independence, much needed economic stability, competitiveness and new jobs as well as providing the most cost-effective and fastest way to reduce CO2 and other emissions.
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January 2011Newsletter # 60
This Newsletter is produced by the European Environmental Bureau (aisbl) (EEB). EEB is the largest federation of environmental citizens organisations in Europe. It groups together over 140 member organisations from more than 30 countries.
Editor responsible: John Hontelez - EEB Secretary General
Editor-in-Chief: Simon Nazer - EEB Press and Publications Officer
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FORTHCOMING EEB EVENTS
Seveso only considers the hazard potential of an activity on the basis that the substance is classified as hazardous according to EU classifications. As a result, storage of large amounts of CO2 is currently not covered. In 2008 107 people needed medical treatment because of a leakage of about 50 tonnes of CO2 in a fire extinguishing plant in Mnchengladbach, Germany.
The most significant change in the Seveso III Proposal relates to the scope, in particular the qualifying substances and thresholds (so called Annex I). The Commission did not fix significant shortcomings in regards to the scope but introduced a new mechanism that would allow EU-wide substance derogations and establish-ment-specific derogations at member state level. Some improvements to the provisions relating to access to information and justice and the increase of public participation are also proposed (relating to the Aarhus Convention framework).
EEB made concrete suggestions for improvements in an ideas paper dating back to end of 20093
which was submitted during the stakeholder consultation process. In particular there is a need to make sure the prevention and precautionary principle are the underlying basis for the revised
proposals as well as to maximise synergies with specific aims under the Industrial Emissions Directive (promotion of use of Best Available Techniques). It should also account for emerging risks such as nanotechnology.
At the end of the process the current proposal does not provide improvements in the prevention of major accidents involving hazardous chemicals, and will not match with the European citizens needs and right for an environment safe from hazardous chemicals.
The Hungarian Presidency seeks to reach a first reading agreement by June 2011 and EEB hopes to have its demands reflected in the final text.
By Christian Schaible, EEB Industrial Emissions and
Chemicals Senior Policy Officer
1 COM (2010) 781 final can be found at following link: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/seveso/pdf/com_2010_0781_en.pdf
2 EEA Technical report 13/2010 Mapping the impacts of natural hazards and technological accidents in Europe
12European Environmental Bureauwww.eeb.org
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MEMORANDUM TO THE HUNGARIAN PRESIDENCYSince 1998 the EEB has written to the new EU Presidencies with what they see as the biggest environmental challenges the EU faces.
The Presidency, during their six-month tenure, has the chance to make a genuine impact on a multitude of EU environmental policies. This can range from energy efficiency to waste prevention, climate change and future roadmaps and action programmes.
The Memorandum also comes with the EEBs Ten Tests, which are used to evaluate the Presidencys environmental performance at the end of the six months.
February 18, 2011 - BrusselsEU ENVIRONMENTAL ACHIEVEMENTS AND FUTURE CHALLENGES: THE ROLE OF THE EEB AT THE OCCASION OF JOHN HONTELEz LEAVINGKey experts all across the environmental policy spectrum in Europe will take part in this one day conference to discuss the EUs role in environment, its understanding of sustainability, whether or not it can save our planet, as well as looking at the EEBs role in all this and saying our final farewells to John Hontelez, outgoing EEB Secretary General, and welcome to the new Secretary General.
February 28, 2011 - BrusselsIS THE TAX TREATMENT OF COMPANY CARS ENVIRONMENTALLY HARMFUL IN THE EUROPEAN UNION? Green Budget Europe, together with EEB and European Commission, are hosting a one day conference looking at the approaches to car taxation in the EU, best and worst practice as well final discussions on how these subsidies could be used to benefit, and not damage, the EU.
Visit the events section on eeb.org for more details.