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Posts tagged 'EU'

The Environmental Outlook for the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS)

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Carbon Trading PermitsSandbag are doing amazing work pushing to create a clean renewable based future for us all. They focus where they can do most, on the carbon trading market – The EU emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), the only large scale policy yet implemented to cut carbon emissions. The simple idea is to destroy excess trading permits. To give you some idea how big the problem is click on this image of the live counter to get the latest reading:

Sandbag’s latest report Slaying the Dragon: Vanquish the surplus and rescue the Emissions Trading Scheme reveals how hundreds of millions of excess carbon allowances continue to be issued, with a disproportionate share of these being awarded for free to Europe’s “Carbon Fatcat” companies which are shifting from being steel to cement companies. What is the environmental outlook for the ETS?

You can download the report by clicking on the image:

The Environmental Outlook for the EU Emissions Trading Scheme

More news from Sandbag

As the latest emissions figures came out, showing the EU has all but met its 2020 target to cut emissions by 20%, Sandbag released projections showing that by 2020 EU emissions could be down by 29% on current trends. They’re using this research to call for a higher 2020 target, and were pleased when sharing a platform with a senior DG Energy official to hear them already talking about potential increases to the 2020 target. As emissions are likely to be very low this year the pressure to move this target is only going to grow, internationally and at home.

MSR knight small As coal prices seem to plunge ever lower we are now engaged helping NGOs EU wide to develop coal phase out plans with a big focus on Germany, the UK and Poland. They’ve helped Greenpeace with some research, looking at loopholes in the ETS that have subsidised coal power plants and in the UK they’ve been analysing the effect of the capacity market which looks set to keep old plant going longer than necessary or sensible.

Buy carbon permits here at £6.47 to take them out of the system.

c/o Bryony (in Brussels), Damien (in Australia), Alex (in China), Dave (in Brussels), and Phil, Laurence and Tricia (in London) – Illustrations by the marvellous Kerry Hyndman – About Sandbag.

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Business leaders urge Europe to keep up ambition on climate

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As usual, big business appears to be pulling the climate strings at the EU in favour of softening renewable and emissions targets.

However, some of the more progressive businesses are maintaining pressure on the commission to keep a 40% emissions reduction by 2030, which they say, and I agree, is a bare minimum requirement.

Below is a letter from CPSL and EUCLG to support the challenge, and I’ve copied the text at the bottom just in case you can’t read on your device.



A group of leading businesses including Unilever, Skanska, BT, Acciona, EDF Energy, Shell, Philips, Lloyds, and Kingfisher today welcomed the European Commission’s White Paper on its 2030 Climate and Energy package, which proposes a target of 40% domestic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, but warned that current proposals must not be watered down any further.

The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group said that a 40% reduction in European emissions by 2030 was the minimum necessary to ensure the region maintained its climate leadership role in the run up to the critical UN climate meeting in Paris in 2015.

Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever said: “A 40% target is a minimum level of ambition if we are to tackle climate change and deliver sustainable growth in the long term. We hope that other countries will follow Europe’s lead in developing their own ambitious targets.”

The companies also welcomed ETS reform and the binding EU-wide renewables target of 27%, which will support and encourage business investment while allowing member states flexibility on how to deliver.

Carmen Becerril, Chief International Officer at Acciona said: “Only by setting a clear direction on GHG emissions reductions and renewables can Europe attempt to keep its share of the global low carbon and environmental business market. We do however need to be even more ambitious if Europe is to trigger a clean energy revolution.”

The Corporate Leaders Group members regretted the absence of a stronger policy framework around energy efficiency.

Noel Morrin, Senior Vice President, Sustainability & Green Support at Swedish construction and property developer Skanska said: “We are concerned that without binding energy efficiency targets the 2030 package will not provide the long term signal needed for continued investments. The emissions reduction target should be complemented by a clear signal on energy efficiency to ensure markets get to where we need to be in 2050.”

The Commission White Paper released today is the beginning of a EU process that will see Member States and Parliament review the targets ahead of final agreement in March.

Contact details

Amy Barry, Press officer, +44 7980 664397 or +44 1179422471 Cecile Belivent, CLG +32-289-49-320
Sandrine Dixson-Decleve, Director, CLG Mobile: +32-477-449-439


The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group (CLG) brings together business leaders who believe there is an urgent need for new and longer‐term policies for tackling climate change. Members include AECOM, Acciona, Anglian Water Group, Aviva, BT Group, Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc, Doosan, EDF Energy, Glaxo Smith Kline, Heathrow, Johnson Matthey, Kingfisher, Lloyds Banking Group, Philips Lighting, Shell, Skanska, British Sky Broadcasting, Tesco, Thames Water, Unilever, United Technologies Corporation, Virgin Group and Vodafone. The group is managed by The University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership (CPSL).

Additional quotes from members:

Feike Sijbesma, CEO of DSM said: “Solutions are there to make a meaningful impact on combating global warming. It is vital that we now reach scale in order to make the necessary transition from a fossil resources-based economy to a renewable, alternative energy sources based economy.”

Walter van Kuijen, Senior Vice President at Philips said: “Philips is disappointed that the European Commission has not included a clear energy efficiency policy framework in its new 2030 package. We urge the European Commission to show leadership in setting an ambitious energy efficiency agenda very soon. Unless Europe adopts a climate and energy package inclusive of an ambitious GHG emissions target and energy demand side measures we will not succeed in leveraging a strong EU internal market acting as an accelerator for innovative European companies competing globally.”

Thomas Reynaert, President UTIO, United Technologies Corporation: “We call on the Commission to follow the economic reasoning of its own Impact Assessment and come forward with an ambitious target for energy efficiency after its review this year. As the European Parliament has stated, sectoral energy efficiency targets for buildings are key to ensure the EU reaches its 2030 and 2050 low carbon objectives.”

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Climate talks to set 2030 targets for Europe

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On the 22nd of January the EU commission will propose new renewable and efficiency targets for 2030.

There are deep divisions between the commissioners, and European businesses are lobbying for what they call more realistic targets.

Discussions this month are to deliver frameworks that will be agreed in March by national leaders.

The 2030 energy and climate target discussions include:

* 20-45% renewables targets suggested by various parties. 27% appears to be the key number being discussed with some countries asking for no target at all.

* Discussions are based on the EU’s ’20-20-20′ targets, which were set in 2008. The talks are intended to extend and detail this plan. A call for a 20% emission reduction were based on ’90 levels, a 20% share of renewable energy and 20% increase in energy efficiency by 2020. The first two targets are binding, and the third is suggested.

* 35-40% reduction in emissions.

* Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Portugal have called for a 2030 renewable target in addition to carbon goal.

* The utilities oligopoly are against a renewable target, as well as SME groups and heavy industries.

* In favour of the target are technology companies such as Almston, the renewables lobby in its various EU associations and a number of high profile companies that are pursuing the sustainability agenda e.g. The Prince of Wales’s EU Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change.

My thoughts:

* A 40% renewables target makes sense but it has to be coupled with an ambitious efficiency target of the same proportion.

* Energy efficiency is the ultimate renewable and we should push for stronger targets. That’s the way to decouple from carbon and rising cost of energy in the first place.

* Let’s not forget that the pivotal discussion point must be carbon. It’s not enough to set targets, we need an approach where innovation and low carbon products are incentivised while the perverse allowances for heavy industry e.g. carbon allowances are discouraged.

Anyway, whatever they decide, it will be a relatively futile exercise as most of Europe’s carbon footprint is carbon imported in the form of food and manufactured goods from elsewhere. And so far, embodied carbon is badly measured, let alone taxed or incentivised.

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EU Commission does more to ‘Green’ the UK than the UK government!

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Fantastic report from the Green Alliance highlighting the impact of EU policy in the UK.

The graphs are self-explanatory. EU directives are driving the uptake of renewables (Despite bad policy from UK Government).

Green Economy Directives

Kickstarting renewable electricity generation in the UK. Both the 2001 Directive on Electricity Production from Renewable Energy Sources (RES Directive) and the 2009 Renewable Energy Directive had a strong impact on UK renewable electricity generation, which grew by 98 per cent 2001-07 and 88 per cent 2007-11.

A thriving EU renewables market. The Renewable Energy Directive had a significant impact on renewable deployment, setting up mandatory targets for renewable energy use in Europe. The targets, negotiated in 2007-08 and agreed in 2009, resulted in a 34 per cent increase in renewable energy sources in final energy consumption since 2007.

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The human factor of the circular economy

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Here is a great presentation from Femke Groothuis from Ex-Tax – The human factor of the circular economy

Some key points to consider:

* The EU generate €4.9 trillion in taxes per year

* ’Efficiency’ has become a synonym for, ‘fewer employees’, – Eckart Wintzen

* 26 million Europeans unemployed

* 700 million people in 43 countries suffer from water scarcity

* 3.2 million deaths from air pollution

Click on the image for the full presentation

Human Factor Circular Economy



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How can anyone buy green if they have no clue on how to choose?

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Imagine you are the person making public procurement decisions in a local council or a university.

You are more than willing to buy green, and are being encouraged by your superiors to do so. But none of the suppliers are giving you full transparency on the environmental impacts of the products you would like to buy. They are all providing you with biased information, funny labels and some half-truths.

Perhaps the EU has some guidance? But you discover how little help the EU offers. All you can find are vague phrases saying that procurement teams should ‘take into account energy consumption and emissions’ or that they should consult the TC/CEN 350 standard – or that they should follow the self-serving advice of choosing products with an EU Ecolabel.

Wouldn’t it be easier for the EU just to say something like ‘choose cars with less than 120g CO2/km’? Everybody understands that metric, all manufacturers now provide it, and it’s an easy piece of advice on which to base decisions.

That’s the beauty of FPT.

Full Product Transparency helps people to make decisions based on easily understandable magic metrics rather than requiring purchasers to have PhDs in environmental science in order to buy a piece of furniture for the office.

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How Green Public Procurement is becoming based on transparent metrics

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If you sell to the government, you’d better understand full product transparency. 

The real demand for sustainability is coming from B2B and public procurement. There are three key buying powers in the world today: governments, corporates and citizens. Both government and corporate procurement teams are now making big buying decisions through tendering processes, based not just on price but also on the environmental and social facts surrounding a particular product or service. The problem today is that there is little or no transparency on the real social and environmental impacts of products and services, so buyers from government and the corporate world have to invest vast amounts of time and money developing lengthy and time-consuming sustainability questionnaires. Often the focus of these is less on relevant aspects of the product or service and more on labels and certificates, which are pounced upon as some kind of proxy environmental assurance. FPT, however, will enable public and B2B procurers to make informed choices based on real facts, while saving lots of time and money on the wasteful bureaucracy that is connected with form-filling.

Public procurement is a huge market and it’s a willing one

According to the European Commission white paper, Public Procurement for a Better Environment each year European public authorities spend up to 16% of the European Union’s Gross Domestic Product on products and services such as buildings, transport, cleaning services and food. This amounts to approximately 2 trillion euros annually. That is massive by anyone’s standards. Imagine the transformational power that could be brought into being if this buying power was used to favour goods and services with lower impacts on the environment. Through their procurement policies, governments could make a significant contribution to the speedy development of a market for sustainable goods. As we have seen previously in the car industry, new legislation can change the rules of the game dramatically, and regulation to introduce sustainability into government procurement would certainly do that. That’s why Green Public Procurement (GPP) has been adopted and targets set in 21 member states.

Here are some EU figures.

CO2 emissions would be cut by 15 million tonnes per year if the whole of the European Union adopted the same environmental criteria for lighting and electronic equipment as the city of Turku in Finland, where citizens have reduced electricity consumption by 50%. If the European public sector alone were to adopt the Danish Ministry of the Environment’s guidelines for cars, CO2 emissions would be cut by around 100,000 tonnes per year and fuel and operating costs by a third. But if all cars operating in Europe met these standards, then CO2 emissions would be reduced by 220 million tonnes, contributing significantly to the EU greenhouse gas emissions reduction target for 2020.

This is an example of a simple yet very powerful and wide reaching action that could immediately reduce our negative impact on the planet by dramatically reducing emissions and pollution.

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An Interview with Michele Galatola – ‘EU Environmental Footprinting’

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Michele Galatola from DG Environment at the European Commission provides an overview on the rationale of the EU environmental footprinting methodology.

In this short video he describes the addressed audience and possible fields of application of the methodology.

Furthermore Michele Galatola shares insights on the role of environmental footprinting in future EU policy.

From the PCF World Forum, Sep 2012 (Published Nov 2012) –

Renewable Resources in the Value Chain. A Viable Option for Reducing Environmental Footprints?”

About the PCF World Forum

Consumption of goods and services indirectly contributes to a large share of worldwide GHG emissions. Efforts are underway to better understand, manage and reduce these emissions. Standards and tools for carbon footprinting as well as more comprehensive environmental and sustainability metrics are developed, refined and practically tested.

The Product Carbon Footprint (PCF) World Forum is a neutral platform to share practical experiences and knowledge towards climate-conscious consumption and production. The international platform provides orientation in current standardisation processes and creates opportunities for discussing international corporate best practices and emerging tools to support low carbon and climate-conscious consumption models.

The PCF World Forum was created out of the ambition to talk with each other and not just about each other given the ever increasing number of initiatives around the world and often little real understanding of respective approaches and activities.

PCF World Forum is an initiative by Berlin based think-do-tank THEMA1.

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2012 European Awards for Green Buildings [Results]

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This is the type of initiative where the EU can provide a huge amount of value with almost zero expense.

Awarding and showcasing buildings across Europe that have been either built or refurbished with radical energy efficiency goals is a way to provide strong evidence that achieving reductions in the region of 80%-90% is possible.

A new kindergarden in Germany with zero net energy and one hotel in Germany with a refurbishment resulted in an 88% reduction.

It’s not just Germany and Sweden, there is also a new education project in Spain that achieved a 70% reduction (quite proud of that).

The awards results summary is here and the full presentation pack is here (With pictures)

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