October 2010 Newsletter # 59 European Environmental Bureau
META MORPHOSIS Editorial
BUILDING THE FOUNDATIONS FOR A GREENER EUROPE?
By John Hontelez, EEB Secretary General
The Europe 2020 Strategy1 adopted by the European Council this year triggered a range of activities, with green elements present but without a clear ambition level to achieve environmental sustainability. Meanwhile, the Belgian EU Presidency has initiated important discussions that could help green the Europe 2020 Strategy further. FLAGSHIPS At the EU level, the Strategy is to be strengthened with seven “Flagships” - implementing strategies covering specific subjects. Three of them are specifically important for environmentalists, including the “innovation union” (to come out in 2011) and “an industrial policy for the globalisation era", which came out on the 28th October. It aims to increase the competitiveness of the EU manufacturing industry while also contributing to an energy and resource efficient economy, and it even takes the growth of the eco-industrial sector as one of its indicators for success. Yet it also insists on environmental legislation to be ‘competitiveness proof’ and is flagging the need to increase domestic raw material mining, two elements which may impede the progress of biodiversity and health protection in particular. 1
See also April 2010 Metamorphosis issue
On balance however this Flagship could be turned into a positive contribution to an energy and resource efficient economy. The third relevant flagship initiative, on a “Resource Efficient Europe”, has an uncertain future. Something is likely to come out in spring next year, but most likely no more than a list of individual policies that together form this flagship. The Flagship will embrace a revised Energy Efficiency Action Plan, for which there are strong demands from civil society and from inside the European Parliament to change the voluntary 20% energy efficiency increase target for 2020, set in 2006, into a legally binding one. Energy Commissioner Oettinger has so far resisted such a move, claiming that we should wait two more years to decide whether a voluntary approach will work. However, a report from the European Climate Foundation, published in September, revealed that with the current measures combined with the reduction of energy use due to the economic crisis, the EU will only achieve half of this target and that in fact efforts must increase fourfold to reach the target. > Continued on page 2
European Environmental Bureau www.eeb.org
> Continued from page 1
Delaying a legally binding target is therefore a wrong message on a subject where everyone agrees that saving energy is the smartest action, but where far too little is happening. The Flagship will also embrace a revision of the Energy Taxation Directive of 2003, for which we have already been awaiting for 1.5 years and which promises to be all but ambitious. While the Commission said in its Europe 2020 Strategy proposal that environmental tax reform is a “growth friendly” way of dealing with budgetary constraints, it seems reluctant to challenge Member States to do something substantial. The Commission even considers its upcoming proposals on reforms of the Common Agriculture and Fisheries and Cohesion Policies as part of this Flagship. We certainly do hope that these policies will contribute to sustainable resource use, but we expect a major battle with vested interest here. Finally, according to the Europe 2020 Strategy, the Flagship is to encompass a “[v]ision for Europe's transition to a low carbon, resource efficient and climate resilient economy by 2050, in particular for the decarbonisation of the energy and transport sectors, to provide a long-term framework for policy and investment, including
an analysis of what practical policies would be required to implement a 30% reduction in 2020 and of the necessary scenarios for 2030.” The title promises more than the explanation, which focuses on energy production and use. This is also clear from the public consultation that the Commission has opened and which runs until 8th December and where the title has become “Roadmap for a low carbon economy by 2050”. It is therefore very important that Environment Commissioner Potocnik has also announced a Resource Efficiency Roadmap, which would have to clarify what is needed in sustainable resources management in order to respect the future planetary limits in the context of a growing global population and growing prosperity (hopefully) in other parts of the world. This Roadmap is to come out mid 2011, and is seen by the Commissioner as a cornerstone of the environmental policies for the next decade. At EEB we are enthusiastic about the initiative and will support it, but we are concerned whether the Commission as a whole will allow the messaging to be at its required, and in some respects radical, level relating not only to the challenge ahead but also on which measures should be taken.
NATIONAL REFORM PROGRAMMES Member States have agreed to develop National Reform Programmes by mid November which are meant to implement the Europe 2020 Strategy at the national level, on the basis of guidelines agreed in June this year. A survey done by the Spring Alliance (EEB, Social Platform, ETUC, Concord) found that only in Belgium, Finland and Poland have civil society organisations been invited for discussion on such a Programme. Incredibly, organisations in other countries did not notice any public debate whatsoever. It is difficult to understand how governments can agree on Reform Programmes that will have a great impact on society without discussions with national parliaments and organised civil society. The Europe 2020 Strategy therefore risks going down the same route as the Lisbon Strategy, which was only really relevant at the EU level and at national level occasionally when it suited national political purposes. To avoid that, the Spring Alliance has called upon the Commission and Member States to launch such public debates between November and mid 2011, before the Reform Programmes are adopted in final format. •
CONFERENCE REPORT: FUTURE OF ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY Discussions at this years EEB annual conference focused on the future of EU environmental policy, towards a possible Seventh Environmental Action Programme (7EAP). Since 1973 EAPs have set out of ecological roadmap for EU policy, setting ambitions and targets for the European Commission, since 2002, due to a new procedure which also binds the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament. What makes EAPs unique is the fact that they elaborated on the need to integrate environmental objectives and conditions into other policies. At a time when we are seeing the impact of globalised policy measures, an EAP can help the EU incorporate a more holistic approach when it comes to the environment. The current sixth EAP is due to expire in 2012 and the Commission has so far kept its cards close to its chest and is saying little about whether or not it wishes to have a 7EAP, but the current Belgian
Presidency has been very pro-active on the issue. It has led the way for a full evaluation of the 6EAP, which will be discussed at its upcoming conference on 25th and 26th November in Brussels. The EEB conference, in early October, had broad input from across different sectors: from civil society and business to the Commission, the European Environment Agency (EEA) and current and future EU Presidencies. What was clear during discussions was that there is great need for a future roadmap which will ensure Europe finds its way onto a sustainable path, a path it so far fails to tread. DIVIDED OPINION? In the afternoon session Mikael Karlsson, EEB President, presented the reasons for a 7EAP. This fed into a roundtable discussion with representatives from current and future EU Presidencies, the Commission and NGOs who discussed the reasons for or against a 7EAP. Kurt Vandenberghe, Head of Cabinet of Environment Commissioner, and Peter Vis, Head of Cabinet for Climate Action, kicked off by presenting their views on a 7EAP. Their main point was that much has changed in Europe since the 6EAP started, with different priorities and contexts: the focus of governments now is on jobs and growth and the changed global relations. The challenge now, according to the Commission, is to seek green growth and address the rapid emergence of China as largest economy. They also said it was important to move from individual environmental risks to much more systemic ones (biodiversity, climate, chemical cocktail effects, resource use etc). Another real challenge now, said Vandenberghe, is proper implementation. Karlsson agreed that implementation is indeed a serious problem, as is the need for better integration in the political agenda. He said the Europe 2020 Strategy is a good start with some headline integration on climate and resource use but there is a green race on now and this touches upon all policy areas. Paul Ekins of Green Budget Europe suggested that this could be the message that runs throughout the EU now: there is a green race on, and this should be embedded in the political agenda to enable green growth, not brown growth as we have now. If it is not seen this way - that sustainability is a requirement to be competitive – other countries will likely catch up fast, and overtake. He felt this could be the message to the other Director Generals in the Commission and with the help of DG Environment and Climate the changes are possible to enable the EU to be part of that race.
Jo Leinen, Chair of the European Parliament Environment Committee, indentified with the EEB on the need for a programme to describe the transition to a low carbon economy and low resource society. He said the EU must look beyond the legislation and even beyond the decades if this is to happen, and that a 7EAP should really reflect the EU’s role in the world. Tony Long, Director of WWF European Policy Officer, also drew the audiences’ attention to the need for a global perspective. This was also supported by the Ministers from Belgium, Denmark and Hungary who all agreed that there is a strong need for an ambitious EAP, and that a 7EAP can show the different context we live in today and could help prioritise sustainable development in an integrated way. Some panellists, including Ekins and Karlsson, said it was troubling that the Commission seemed to suggest we must accept the dominance of the jobs and growth agenda - in that context there seems little different from the current political climate to when the 6EAP came about. Hontelez said this is in fact exactly the reason why an EAP should come about now. Ekins commented on the need for imagination – we must draw a roadmap, or a vision, for the future and set ambitions and targets in order to move the EU in that direction. A clear theme throughout the discussions was the need to revaluate what we value in society – or a ‘values revolution’: the continuous tendencies to prioritise growth will unlikely move us beyond our environmental and social problems. Hontelez said that having a future roadmap is clearly important and having a vision in place, such as a 7EAP, would be a significant step towards ensuring the EU moves forward in a sustainable way whilst remaining competitive. FUTURE VISIONS The early session of the conference discussed the very issue of future visions. Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director of EEA, began proceedings by analysing the environmental challenges for the next decade – the period a 7EAP would likely cover. This comes ahead of the 1st December publication of the EEA’s EU environment State and Outlook Report (2010) with its core message being ‘environmental policy works’. She demonstrated that with EU policy, and proper implementation, environment problems were indeed tackled. The main challenge identified, however, was the need for a stronger narrative
October 2010 Newsletter # 59
amongst European citizens. Much can indeed be done at policy level but there must be a significant social shift to understand the whole picture of environmental impacts, which would then feed into consumption habits. Per Sandberg of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development set out a business vision for 2050, and set out his aim to promote the business case for sustainability. 29 large companies came together with three main aims: keep within the budget of one planet; to accept the fact that there will be around nine billion people; to have a very high moral ambition saying all those people will live well and have a good quality of life. He demonstrated the fact that sustainability can be the driver for innovation across many sectors, from industry and retail to education and construction. Sandberg showed that there is a green race, and the EU risks falling behind very soon without action. Jean-Pierre Hannequart, Director General of the Brussels Institute for Environmental Management, echoed calls for moving the debate beyond Brussels, and increasing the effectiveness of the public participation process. He felt a 7EAP can be hugely valuable if all stakeholders are able to have a significant say in its construction. • Visit eeb.org for more information on this conference
In this issue p.1 Editorial Building the Foundations for a Greener Europe? p.2 Conference Report: Future of Environmental Policy p.4
p.5 Hot Off the Press! p.6 EEB Member Focus p.7 EU Chemicals: The Fight to Know? p.8 The EU Budget Review – Where Next? p.9 Towards an Energy Efficient Europe p.10 EEB’s AGM: Support for Continuation of EEB’s Specific Role p.10 John Hontelez Set to Leave p.11 For Clean Air Everywhere p.12 Coming and Going
European Environmental Bureau www.eeb.org
SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE A draft Communication on the future of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) post 2013 was leaked from the European Commission in early October ahead of its release into inter-service consultation and before its official publication which is planned for the 17th of November. The EEB was pleased to see the Commission is likely to acknowledge the importance of environmental sustainability and the protection of soil, water and biodiversity but was concerned that the changes required were viewed by the Commission as some kind of ‘consumer demand fad’ instead of a fundamental need.
What’s the latest news from EEB’s campaigning frontlines?
It also fails to mention High Nature Value farming systems.
The EEB’s publication on nanotechnologies1 describes how and why this needs to be done.
It is imperative the EU ensures future agriculture is sustainable, to ensure our food security as well as the health of our environment, and the EEB and its members will now work to ensure this happens in the coming months.
The precautionary principle should be the cornerstone of any innovation policy. This means that, in situations of potential threat to health or the environment, action to reduce potential hazards must take place even if strong proof of harm cannot be provided yet. This can only be achieved if early research and monitoring of upcoming risks is put in place, particularly in a field where technology is developing very fast and getting increasingly complex. Such a system would need to be able to scan the horizon for potential concerns from a multi-scientific perspective, and be linked to research and environmental monitoring allowing systematic identification of areas of uncertainty.
The EEB will also be hosting a conference on the 30th of November in order to provide a forum to debate on the Communication (which should be officially published at that time) together with Members of the Parliament, Representatives of some Member states and Commission’s officials. With this Conference, the EEB aims to debate if and how the Commission’s Communication can reshape the CAP in order to tackle the environmental challenges of our time. Contact: Faustine Defossez, Policy Officer, Agriculture and Bioenergy
There is clear fundamental need for change to make the farming sector more sustainable. The draft Communication failed to offer clear options and tools to tackle the great environmental challenges of our time such as climate change and biodiversity loss. Certain ‘greening’ aspects incorporated are welcome but they should not lead to the weakening of existing rules. Crucially the proposal completely fails to mention how it will support the establishment of the Natura 2000 network of protected areas which often depends on more sustainable farming practices, nor the critical role of agri-environment measures have played in providing farmers with the incentive to adopt more sustainable practices.
NANOTECHNOLOGY: SEEING THE BIG PICTURE New technologies are evolving at a remarkable pace and if we are to ensure citizens are protected from possible health and environmental impacts there must be a shift towards new ways of sustainable, precaution-based technology assessment and management.
In parallel to monitoring possible risks and ensuring the safety of products, ‘clean’ production and innovation must be promoted. A responsible governance system must reflect on the so-called benefits which are brought on by technological development. We should ask how developments should be guided by society, and how they offer appropriate solutions to our most pressing issues such as environmental and social problems. Once these benefits are defined, they must be accompanied by clear and quantifiable objectives (e.g. a given percentage of CO2 reduction in a given production process). Importantly, the setting of these objectives must involve citizens, especially when it comes to ethical issues as in the case of nanotechnologies. This is the only way to ensure that the benefits brought on by technologies are not only market driven but benefit to the society as a whole. Contact: Louise Duprez, EEB Policy Officer, Nanotechnology 1
“ Shaping innovation: Policy approached on innovation governance – the case of nanotechnology”, September 2010
HOT OFF THE PRESS!
EU ‘SEES THE LIGHT’ ON ENERGY EFFICIENT LAMPS: MERCURY CONTENT GOING DOWN Environmental NGOs welcome the European Commission's decision to reduce the maximum mercury content in certain energy efficient lamps. It is not only a good step for the EU but also establishes a global precedent for others to follow, they say. “This Commission decision on mercury content in lamps now firmly establishes a global precedent that others should follow,” said Michael Bender, director of the Mercury Policy Project and Co-Coordinator of the Green Lighting Campaign. However, the NGOs still have some serious reservations. Since 2008, during the comment period, NGOs had expressed concerns that: even lower, than the proposed, limits could be set for most categories, since lamps complying with those levels are already on the market – from at least two international manufacturers; transition periods for requiring lower mercury content were too long and were not necessary, and stated that there should also be expiry dates to drive future innovation of the mercury free market.
NGOs AND CITIZENS DEMAND CLEAN AIR EVERYWHERE Ahead of a crucial debate in the European Commission, green group EEB is reiterating earlier calls for an urgent upgrade of key air legislation by organising a run for ‘Clean Air! Everywhere’. EU Commissioners will be meeting in the coming weeks to discuss the fate of the NEC Directive which has been postponed since 2007. The NEC – or National Emissions Ceilings – Directive is a central piece of EU air legislation which would set emissions limits for 2020. ‘The Run for Clean Air! Everywhere’ at the Brussels Marathon (10th October) involved citizens from all across Europe. By running in the European capital they are asking their leaders to take action now and ensure they can finally live, and run, in clean cities. The reason for delaying the Directive is unclear: studies available on the Commission’s own website show that the benefits of a revised NEC Directive to health, environment and the economy will significantly outweigh the costs involved.
October 2010 Newsletter # 59
Recent EEB press alerts and Media coverage
EEB TELLS EU TO WAKE UP AND SMELL THE SOIL Ahead of a conference titled ‘Soil, climate change and biodiversity, where do we stand?’, the EEB called for efforts to get soil back on the political agenda. Pieter de Pous, EEB Policy Director, said: “when it comes to soil, we are stuck in the mud. We have here some of the world’s most renowned soil experts and scientists explaining how incredibly important soil is for virtually everything we do in life. They are pointing at the hard truth that we are in serious danger of losing this precious resource.“ “At the same time we still have a number of politicians, especially in Germany, France and the UK, who continue to argue it’s every member state, or even every farmer, for themselves. What this conference shows is that this is not only a highly irresponsible position to take but also an untenable one: sooner or later Europe will need to adopt an effective policy to deal with these problems. It better be sooner.” Visit eeb.org to read the full story
MEPs wrote to Commissioner Potocnik supporting the run.
Visit eeb.org to read the full story Visit eeb.org to read the full story
European Environmental Bureau www.eeb.org
EEB MEMBER FOCUS
News from EEB members and working groups
The criteria have been designed for sustainability in Finland. Environmental and ecological conditions vary from country to country, so our criteria will need to be adapted for each partner country by local experts in ecological and environmental protection. What qualifies as EKOenergy? - Solar energy systems - Wind power Hydropower - Biofuel
AN INTERNATIONAL ECOLABEL IN THE MAKING: EKOENERGY EKOenergy, an international ecolabel for energy, is extending its reach. Energy production can currently be certified in the Nordic countries (barring Iceland), and Estonian Fund for Nature and Bellona are already preparing for the adoption of the label in Estonia and Russia respectively. Now all European environmental NGOs are invited to participate. EKOenergy is an international ecolabel for energy: solar, wind, hydropower and energy from biofuels. At present, it is managed by the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation, the biggest environmental non-governmental organisation in Finland and EEB member. The label aims to provide reassurance of the most environmentally friendly energy products on the market. Carbon-neutral renewable energy production is inadequate in the context of comprehensive environmental protection. Sustainable energy must be part of a low-carbon future, but low-carbon energy is only a part of sustainable energy. Therefore the label also gives weight to biodiversity issues and cultural heritage considerations. For example, hydropower stations are required to construct fish passes to allow migratory fish, such as salmon and trout, to migrate upstream to spawn. Wind farms must not be located in important bird migration, nesting or feeding areas, or in regionally, nationally or internationally significant cultural heritage sites.
A common ecolabel is needed soon. As European energy markets are rapidly integrating, both private consumers and companies will benefit from Europe-wide provision of ecolabelled energy. People will be able to choose sustainable energy where ever they are, without having to research the criteria of each national label separately. Multinational companies will be able to use energy certified under the same criteria in all their countries of operation. As well as energy producers, the right to use the EKOenergy label can be granted to companies which use EKOenergy in their premises, and to companies providing energy saving services. Individual customers of EKOenergy can display an EKOenergy sticker on their front door or window. Hopefully these stickers will soon adorn windows all over Europe. More information on EKOenergy Sustainability in the energy sector demands more than simply a low-carbon future and no form of energy production is completely 'clean and green'. Wind farms and hydropower stations have their own environmental impacts. The EKOenergy label takes these into account, and extra criteria is in place to minimise the impacts of renewable energy production. Only the cleanest sources of energy will be granted the EKOenergy-label. The aim is to continue developing the criteria to target the most efficient methods of reducing the environmental impacts of energy production.
What doesn’t qualify? - Peat - Fossil Fuels - Nuclear energy Waste incineration EKOenergy outside Finland Currently the EKOenergy label can be granted to electricity generated in Finland, Sweden, Denmark or Norway. Certified energy generated in Sweden, Denmark or Norway is certified with the Bra Miljöval-ecolabel of the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (Svenska Naturskyddsföreningen). The Finnish Association for Nature Conservation is looking to work in partnership with non-governmental environmental organisations from other countries to expand the reach of the EKOenergy label in Europe. Who we are The EKOenergy label is managed by the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation. FANC is the largest non-governmental organisation for environmental protection and nature conservation in Finland. FANC is a member of various non-governmental environmental networks, targeting ocean ecology improvement, climate change, green economy and other areas of conservation. The EKOenergy team at FANC deals with the inspection of power stations and companies within the EKOenergy scheme, the verification of information and standards, and the cooperation with other environmental organisations. More information at www.ekoenergy.org or from Riku Eskelinen +358 50 572 7782
October 2010 Newsletter # 59
EU CHEMICALS: THE FIGHT TO KNOW? RECOMMENDATIONS: Retailers: P rovide for active dissemination policy via electronic tools Providing for active policy via electronic tools bears many advantages: the retailer would simply need to refer to a link through a standardised letter instead of having to respond one by one to individual requests and then chase after the information upstream. It will also achieve transparency and public confidence towards retailers, while enabling the retailer to comply with their requirements in a cost effective way.
From January to August 2010 the EEB and four of its members (BUND, CAAG, SSNC and WECF) launched a campaign to test how the “right to know” under chemicals legislation concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation works in practice. This provision allows the consumer to receive information free of charge within 45 days of a request on whether certain Substances of Very High Concern are present in an article above a certain concentration.1 The aim of the campaign was to assess the effectiveness of “right to know”, to mobilise the supplier’s awareness and support the substitution of substances of very high concern (SVHC). Once officially recognised, SVHC put on the Candidate List are to be regulated in the perspective of being substituted by safer alternatives (authorisation), for instance. Currently, only 38 chemicals are listed. The campaign was composed of two parts: one involved the sending of citizens’ right to know requests to selected retailers/brands in five EU countries and evaluating their answers. The second part consisted of performing a chemical analysis on the presence of plasticisers called phthalates, classified as SVHC,2 in 93 everyday products purchased at those retailers in order to assess the adequacy of responses received. In total, 158 “right to know” requests were sent to 60 retailers/brands established in five European countries. The answer rate was very disappointing: 50% did not answer at all and over 75% gave answers that did not fulfil minimum REACH requirements.
R etailers should proactively identify SIN list 1.1 SVHCs used in their supply chain and phase them out without delay In order to reap the first mover advantage gained from substitution, anticipate regulatory risks and make a direct and sustainable contribution to corporate social responsibility retailers should avoid using any substance listed on the SIN list 1.1.
However 22% of the requests were followed with adequate responses, with some retailers showing a very pro-active profile in their chemicals policy. The legal department of Media Markt, electronics providers with over 800 shops across Europe, simply declared that they were of the opinion that they did not have to provide such information. Bart Smits (Netherlands) refused to provide information to “third parties”, clearly breaching the “right to know”. C&A Belgium initially merely replied to one request via email with “?”. The results from the chemical analyses revealed a widespread use of plasticisers classified as SVHC in a variety of everyday consumer products, ranging up to 63% concentration found in a sex toy. Five products contained a multitude of phthalates, with a pencil case for children and a cosmetic bag containing four different phthalates. These phthalates are widely used in plastics such as PVC to make them softer and more flexible. Since phthalates are not chemically bound to the PVC matrix, they migrate into the surrounding and contaminate food and the human organism. They can be found in the blood of every adult and every child, very often at concentrations where health risks cannot be excluded. Some of these phthalates have been shown to act like hormones and affect the hormonal system of the body. These substances, which are also known as “endocrine disrupting chemicals” (EDC), are reproductive toxicants which may damage the unborn child or the fertility.
Policy Makers: Action from REACH enforcement authorities is warranted Member States and headquarters of the retailers that did not adequately respond should seriously consider providing further awareness/education campaigns about REACH Art. 33.2 obligations. We also encourage competent authorities to follow up on the established breaches under this report. L ist all the SIN List 1.1 SVHC on the Candidate List without further delay The right to know is very limited due to the very short candidate list, so far citizens could only potentially find out any information on 38 SVHC. EEB, together with collaborating NGOs, strongly criticise the lack of progress and calls upon the Commission and Member States to speed up the listing of currently known SVHCs onto the candidate list as a first step, to enable citizens to at least attempt to get an answer on the presence of these chemicals. • Read the full report and results on eeb.org By Christian Schaible, EEB Senior Policy Officer for Chemicals 1 2
Article 33.2 of REACH In total 8 phthalates were tested. All of these are listed on the SIN 1.1 list, however only four of these (DEHP, BBP, DBP, DIBP) are officially recognised SVHC
European Environmental Bureau www.eeb.org
THE EU BUDGET REVIEW – WHERE NEXT? into EU policies is frequently mentioned, but with no real level of detail. Resource efficiency gets two passing mentions, and biodiversity just one – in reference to the Common Agricultural Policy: “A sustainable EU economy needs a thriving agricultural sector making its contribution to a wide variety of EU objectives – including cohesion, climate change, environmental protection and biodiversity, health and competitiveness, as well as food security. “ This statement is hardly new. And here, as throughout the paper, the Communication is absent on detail and on ambition.
After three years of waiting, an epic consultation, a leaked draft, and a change in personnel, the European Commission has at last published its communication on the Budget Review. The pressure was on for some decisive proposals to shape the negotiation of the next multiannual financial framework (MFF), which will start in summer 2011. Seeing the text, we can conclude that an opportunity has been missed. The document says many of the right things about the big picture, but frustrates with the absence of detail. Here is a quote from the opening paragraph from the conclusion: “These ideas are based on the conviction that by 2020 the EU must have taken decisive steps help the EU become a smart, sustainable and inclusive society. To do this, we need to put the European economy on the right track, to take the big decisions to reshape our infrastructure, to give us the skills we need for the future, to assert our global leadership, and to prevent increasing divergences in our societies from undermining its longterm stability. The budget of the Union must be seen as one of the common tools we have at the service of common objectives. At a time of intense pressure on public finances, EU and national budgets cannot be seen as in competition, but as pursuing the same objectives at the levels which can deliver to best effect.” As a future-oriented, outward-looking narrative, there is much here that we can agree with but the paper simply doesn’t convince that the
Commission knows its own mind. Policy ideas are presented as options and immediately balanced by alternatives. There are the obligatory references to the priorities of the Europe 2020 strategy needing to be at the core of spending, but little sense of how the implied changes in budgetary allocations would be made real. The section on climate change is symptomatic. While the leaked draft from October 2009 proposed that climate and energy should be one of three radical new axes of spending, the 2010 final version subsumes climate and energy into the chapter on ‘sustainable growth’ and devotes a mere two paragraphs to ‘(m)ainstreaming energy and climate policies in a resource-efficient economy’. There are some good ideas – on infrastructure investment, support for a move to a 30% target for reductions in carbon emissions “if conditions are right”, and innovative means of project finance – but all of these will need further definition. There is also an ambitious suggestion that “(o)ne option would be to reshape the EU budget to create large-scale, dedicated funds devoted to the delivery of investment” into greener technologies and services. However, this is immediately followed by the option for an alternative approach saying that “mainstreaming these priorities into different programmes may be a more effective approach”. On the broader environmental agenda, the document is even weaker. The need for environmental considerations to be integrated
The Commission has swapped its reform proposals on CAP reform and regional spending as laid down in the leaked draft of October last year for a potentially poisonous debate about ‘own resources’, already defined in the media as a desire for a new ‘EU tax’. Perhaps it is a masochistic strategy to deflect attention from as yet unknown reform priorities, but it appears the Commission certainly has not learnt the lesson from last year: get your potential allies on board first. Prior to the release of the budget review paper, EEB and our allies in the Spring Alliance wrote to European Commission President Barroso to underline the political importance of the EU budget as a means of putting people and planet at the centre of EU policymaking. Given the missed opportunity of this paper, even more work will be required going forward to make this possible. The future of the EU budget will be a hot political topic for the coming few years. EEB will try to ensure that it delivers dedicated EU funding to support the sustainable development agenda, and stops funding projects that worsen the EU’s environmental impact. For all the talk of ‘EU added value’, the budget negotiations will be the key test of whether these challenges will be met by 2020. •
Visit the www.springalliance.eu for more, and read here for the Commission’s Communication on the budget. By Chris Littlecott - Vice President of EEB, senior policy adviser at the UK think tank Green Alliance, and managing editor of the new website www.LowCarbonBudget.eu
October 2010 Newsletter # 59
TOWARDS AN ENERGY EFFICIENT EUROPE
Moving away from coal, putting solar panels on our roofs and installing wind turbines are not the only way to ensure a reduction of Europe’s CO2 emissions. The EU’s climate and energy package, agreed in December 2008, looks to 2020 and combines a binding emissions reduction target, a binding renewables target with a – unfortunately – non-binding target to reduce our primary energy consumption. Everybody agrees that reducing energy use is essential and that without this fighting climate change successfully is almost impossible. In the end it is a win-win strategy as it also reduces energy bills increases regional energy security and creates many, mostly local, jobs. Yet, despite the fact that the solutions to reducing our energy consumption considerably already exist, much too little is happening. Most European governments are reluctant to take on any mandatory requirements and the main reasons include lack of information, measurement, understanding of the issue and the fear of being penalised. There is the need to approach a full debate on energy saving, to debunk myths and to establish a wider discussion on the subject. A set of targeted and coherent policies and measures, supported by a binding energy saving target from a baseline year would not only ensure that the EU reaches the objective of increased energy savings by 20% by 2020 but it would also ensure that it meets the emissions reduction and renewables targets. The EEB finds it necessary to set a 40% greenhouse gas reduction target for 2020 (compared to 1990). Without such enforcement, opportunities for huge energy savings across all sectors will still fail to be realised. Furthermore, creating the right price signals and setting the certainty for all
involved will allow what are currently isolated cases of best practice to become the standard. The Energy Savings 2020 report1 commissioned by the European Climate Foundation and the Regulatory Assistance Project shows that at the current rate we are only going to meet around half of our energy saving target. Greater effort is clearly required: the report proposes a tripling of the policy impact. It underlines the benefits of saving energy: meeting our energy saving objective would entail potential cost savings of up to €78 billion annually by 2020, a million new local, permanent jobs, improved security of supply and greater economic competitiveness. Saving energy is also widely regarded as the best option for the EU to meet its climate targets in a fast, cost-effective way. However, specific energy efficiency objectives, measures and programmes are needed. We cannot assume that energy savings will automatically result from policies in other areas. The EEB’s energy saving campaign leaps into action at a time when attention to energy saving is rising up the political agenda. We are working to ensure the attention is matched with ambition. The review of the 2006 EU Energy Efficiency Action Plan is over a year overdue, and since we are significantly off track in reaching the target the action plan is in dire need of reinvigoration. The European Parliament’s own initiative report on the Action Plan prepared in the Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Committee by rapporteur Bendt Bendtsen is backed up by an opinion from the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee by rapporteur Pieter Liese. The ENVI report calls for a binding target for the reduction of energy consumption by 25 % - a steep rise in ambition.
EEB staff are engaged in the policy debate to highlight our positions and demands. We are also working with other important stakeholders who are equally eager to see existing policy deliver expected benefits and for future policy to become more ambitious. However, mobilisation in Brussels can only achieve so much without the equivalent momentum in the Member States. EEB works with member groups at national level to remind national decision makers of the benefits of energy savings, and to put the case for action across all sectors (buildings, industry, etc). Lack of finance is a common reason for inaction, but we have seen many examples of how public capital can leverage and gain access to private funding: combined with practical and technical assistance, real savings can be achieved. By demonstrating what is possible it is more likely that a binding target would gain political support and therefore offer the transparency, urgency and focus that we have so far missed. Looking ahead to 4th February 2011, when Heads of State and Government will gather for an Energy Summit, it would be crucial that the new Action Plan be published well in advance in order to inform debate, and encourage buy-in at the highest level. We look to European Heads of State and Government to show their political support and use this opportunity to offer real commitment on this issue. • By Catherine Pearce, EEB Senior Policy Officer, Climate and Environmental Policy Integration and Christian Debono, EEB Energy Savings Campaign Officer
European Environmental Bureau www.eeb.org
EEB’S AGM: SUPPORT FOR CONTINUATION OF EEB’S SPECIFIC ROLE EEB’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 2nd October in Brussels consisted of representatives from 62 EEB member organisations from around Europe. The main issues on the agenda were the achievements of the past 12 months, the election of a new Board and the work programme for 2011. Dr. Mikael Karlsson, President of the Swedish Nature Conservation Society, was re-elected as President of EEB. The AGM also elected four vice-Presidents: Anamarija Slabe (Institute for Sustainable Development, Slovenia), Victoria Haunold (EU-Umweltbüro, Austria), Chris Littlecott (Green Alliance, UK) and Mauro Albrizio (Legambiente, Italy) and as Treasurer Axel Jansen. It said goodbye to six persons leaving the board, including Samuel Martin-Sosa of Ecologistas en Acción (Spain) who finished six years of active participation. EEB’s Work Programme 2011 presents continuity with previous years, while incorporating the specific challenges for the coming year. This in
particular means the EEB will focus on the implementation of the Europe 2020 Strategy, the Financial Perspectives 2014-2020, the reform of the Common Agriculture Policy, the Resource Efficiency Roadmap and the 7th Environmental Action Programme. With regard to climate change, the EEB continues to focus on the domestic agenda, in particular (and with increased capacity) on energy savings (buildings, products, generally through environmental taxes). It also continues to focus on the implementation of agreed policies, pushing for ambitious implementation particularly in the areas of biodiversity, industrial installation permits, water framework directive, product policies (eco-design and ecolabelling) and waste policies. It underlines that while climate, biodiversity and resource efficiency are currently relatively high on the agenda, the protection of human health from pollution and hazardous substances should not be neglected. Nanotechnology has interesting
potentials but comes with new challenges, air pollution and noise stress are nowhere near overcome and slow progress with REACH means that we might still be confronted with hazardous chemicals for decades. EEB will continue to stress that sustainable development is a process of mobilisation of people. It will continue to lead the pan-European efforts to implement access to information, public participation and access to justice rights in environmental matters and to engage environmental organisations in EU environment policy making and implementation. The members’ assembly also welcomed eight organisations as new full members: Viv Agora (France), GMO Free Europe (Germany), Verband der Deutschen Höhlen- und Karstforscher (Germany), Genitori Antismog (Italy) Associacao 5 elemento (Portugal), Eco-union (Spain), Terra Cypria (Cyprus) and Sun Vally (Romania). •
JOHN HONTELEZ SET TO LEAVE Long serving EEB Secretary General, John Hontelez, has announced he will be leaving his position at the end of February 2011 to take up a new challenge at the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Mikael Karlsson, President of the EEB, said: “John has been a fantastic advocate for European environmental policy and a great Secretary General of EEB for 14 years. We wish him every success in his new role and look forward to his continued involvement in the global environmental movement.” “Europe has many difficult challenges ahead in this coming decade, with tackling climate change and environmental pressures central to the policy agenda. We will work to ensure the EEB has the right person in place to continue our vital work in Brussels and with our member organisations across the EU.”
John Hontelez said: “Working with the EEB, its staff and its members has been a real privilege. The organisation is unique in its ability to have an impact on a vast range of EU environmental policies, to promote sustainable development and good environmental governance, and to create alliances with other sectors of civil society.” “The credibility of the EEB towards EU decision makers has made it possible to make a real difference, both in the strategic direction the EU is taking and in the very important nitty-gritty of specific implementation processes of existing EU laws.” “I leave with the conviction that the EEB will continue to thrive and further strengthen its essential role for its members and Europe’s environment.”
A formal recruitment process will be launched shortly and details will be on the EEB website as soon as possible. •
October 2010 Newsletter # 59
FOR CLEAN AIR EVERYWHERE Everyone has the right to live, and run, in a healthy environment but a majority of the EU’s urban population is inhaling dirty air. Since 2005 the EEB has campaigned for a revision of the National Emissions Ceilings (NEC) Directive, which has been constantly delayed. This Directive would contribute to cleaning Europe’s air, with the support of Member States. It is now thought that the European Commission will shortly decide what course of action to take. On October 10th, the EEB organised a run for clean air as part of the Brussels Marathon. The day was a success with broad support from citizens and EEB members who were all calling for action. MEPs also wrote to Environment Commissioner Potocˇnik supporting the run and asking for a revision of the NEC Directive. In addition, EEB members have been very active across Europe to help ensure it is clear that Europe’s citizens want action now! Visit eeb.org for more details.
T his 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.
FORTHCOMING EEB EVENTS REFORMING THE CAP: GREENER, BETTER, FITTER?
Editor responsible: John Hontelez - EEB Secretary General Editor-in-Chief: Simon Nazer - EEB Press and Publications Officer E BB: Boulevard de Waterloo 34 - 1000 Brussels - Belgium Tel: +32 289 1090 - Fax: +32 2 289 1099 - Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.eeb.org - www.participate.org - www.springalliance.eu www.newngoforum.org - www.zeromercury.org Publication free of charge.
WHEN: Tuesday 30th November, 9am VENUE: European Economic and Social Committee, Rue de Trèves 74, Room TRE 7710 Brussels, Belgium
Printed on 100% recycled, chlorine-free paper using vegetable ink. Production : fuel. - www.fueldesign.be EEB gratefully acknowledges the financial assistance for this newsletter from the European Commission and the governments of the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland and the United Kingdom. This publication reflects the authors’ views and does not commit the donors. Photos: p. 4 Thanks to Eduardo Amorim - p.5 Thanks to Marga Robesin and Dirk Wüstenhagen.
The EEB will also be hosting a conference on the 30th of November in order to provide a forum to debate on the Communication (which should be officially published at that time) together with Members of the Parliament, Representatives of some Member states and Commission’s officials. With this Conference, the EEB aims to debate if and how the Commission’s Communication can reshape the CAP in order to tackle the environmental challenges of our time. For more information including agenda and invitation, visit eeb.org.
COMING AND GOING FEATURED PUBLICATION DRIVING TO DESTRUCTION: The impacts of Europe's biofuels plans on carbon emissions and land.
Doreen Fedrigo left EEB mid September to join the Institute for European Environmental Policy. Doreen worked for five years with us, the last three years as EU Policy Director. She brought new management practices and strategic thinking, particularly on the links between the different policy areas the EEB is working in with the objective to achieve policies that really reduce the ecological footprint of the EU without falling in the trap of winning battles here and there but losing the war. We will miss her knowledge, experience, enthusiasm and determination. Doreen has been succeeded by Pieter de Pous, who worked with the EEB for five years as (Senior) Policy Officer on Biodiversity, Water and Soil. He will have the difficult task of filling Doreen’s shoes even though he will certainly leave his own mark, and the enthusiasm of the Policy Officers in his team will help a great deal.
http://www.eeb.org/EEB/?LinkServID=1B641DFA9F69-5264-B711A651D649183E&showMeta=0 Read the full IEEP report: http://www.eeb.org/EEB/?LinkServID=1B69ABDAD409-8138-27A7682365ADF919&showMeta=0
We also have two new staff members in new positions: Faustine Defossez, from France, takes the new role as Policy Officer for Agriculture and Bioenergy, and Christian Debono, from Malta, will be working on our Energy Savings Campaign.
Published on Dec 9, 2010