Tag Archives: Community environment policy

Combating deforestation

Combating deforestation

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Combating deforestation

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Agriculture > Environment

Combating deforestation

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 17 October 2008 “Addressing the challenges of deforestation and forest degradation to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss” [COM(2008) 645 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Forests cover roughly 30% of the world’s land area and offer major environmental benefits: they are amongst the most important habitats for biodiversity and provide crucial services by contributing to erosion prevention, water purification and the storage of Carbon Dioxide (CO2). The livelihoods of 1.6 billion people in the world depend on forest resources.

Forests are under threat from deforestation. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), 13 million hectares of forests are lost every year. The main direct causes of forest destruction are changes in land use and badly controlled infrastructure development.

Proposed EU objectives

Protecting forests is an effective means of combating global warming. The action proposed by the European Union (EU) aims to halt global forest cover loss by 2030 at the latest and to reduce tropical deforestation by at least 50 % by 2020 compared to current levels. This Communication sets out the main lines of the action proposed by the European Commission, invites contributions from all stakeholders and sets in motion a series of initial actions that will provide the foundations for a global response to deforestation.

The Commission considers that the battle against deforestation must be fought on several levels:

  • by strengthening forest governance and institutions at local and national level;
  • by rewarding the value of the services provided by forests and making them more economically attractive than the benefits which can be derived from deforestation;
  • by taking account of demand and the responsibility of consumers;
  • by taking into account the work of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (EN) and international climate negotiations;
  • by improving means for forest monitoring and assessment in order to obtain high-quality information to support decision-making.

Contribution of Community policies

Many European policies have indirect impacts on deforestation and the EU can help promote sustainable forest management, in particular through:

  • Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT);
  • work carried out under the framework of the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA);
  • green public procurement policies;
  • promoting eco-labelling and forest certification.

Furthermore, the Commission highlights the existing link between demand for agricultural commodities and land use. It stresses the need to increase agricultural production without further deforestation, which requires substantial investment, particularly in agricultural research to increase productivity in this sector in developing countries. Vigilance is also needed to ensure that an increase in demand for biofuels does not jeopardise efforts to protect forests. In the future, the Commission will assess the impact on deforestation of European and international initiatives and the consumption of imported food and non-food commodities into the Community, and will continue with the review on policy coherence for development.

Mechanisms and funding

Combating deforestation in developing countries requires additional funding (between 15 and 25 billion Euros per year will be needed to halve deforestation by 2020). A major portion of funding could come from proceeds from the auctioning of allowances within the Community’s emissions allowance trading scheme (ETS). Indeed, the proposed amendment of the scheme, presented in January 2008, provides for at least 20% of the auction proceeds to be devoted to climate objectives, deforestation in particular.

Furthermore, the Commission proposes creating a Global Forest Carbon Mechanism (GFCM). As part of this framework, a pilot phase could be envisaged to test the inclusion of “deforestation credits” (avoided deforestation credits) in carbon markets. Governments could use these credits to achieve the targets allocated to them for the period post-2012 concerning the reduction of emissions. The possibility of authorising companies to use “deforestation credits” to offset a portion of their emissions could be considered after 2020.

Context

These proposals constitute the European Commission’s contribution towards tackling climate change, the protection of nature, and biodiversity. They should help to define the EU’s position in international climate negotiations. Furthermore, the Commission has been provoking discussion on development cooperation and the forestry sector and forestry management within the Union’s borders for several years. This Communication is accompanied by a proposal for a Regulation which aims to minimise the risk of illegally harvested timber and timber products entering the Community market (see related acts).

Related Acts

Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 October 2008laying down obligations for operators who place timber and timber products on the market[COM(2008) 644 Final – Not published in the Official Journal].
As part of combating illegal logging and related trade, the Commission sets out obligations for operators who introduce timber and timber products on the Community market so as to minimize the risk of illegally harvested timber and timber products being placed on the Community market and in order to stop forest degradation and deforestation.

The reusing, recycling and recovering of motor vehicles

The reusing, recycling and recovering of motor vehicles

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The reusing, recycling and recovering of motor vehicles

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Internal market > Motor vehicles > Interactions between the automobile industry and specific policies

The reusing, recycling and recovering of motor vehicles

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2005/64/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 October 2005 on the type-approval of motor vehicles with regard to their re-usability, recyclability and recoverability and amending Council Directive 70/156/EEC.

Summary

The Directive helps facilitate the recycling and recovery of component parts of end-of-life vehicles by obliging manufacturers to incorporate recycling from the vehicle design stage onwards. Manufacturers must design vehicles from the viewpoint of dismantling and recycling them, for example by using a large proportion of materials which are potentially able to be recycled and recovered.

The Directive follows on from Directive 2000/53/EC, the objective of which is to eliminate waste from end-of-life motor vehicles by promoting the re-use, recycling and recovery of their components. Every year end-of life vehicles in the European Union generate between 8 and 9 million tonnes of waste, which must be managed actively.

Category of vehicles

The provisions of this new Directive apply to cars, station wagons and people carriers (category M1 vehicles) and to light-duty trucks (category N1 vehicles), new models and models already in production in accordance with a timetable set out in the Directive.

The new Directive does not apply, however, to special purpose vehicles (armoured vehicles, ambulances, etc.), to multi-stage built light-duty vehicles (provided that the base vehicle complies with this Directive), or to vehicles produced in small series (fewer than 500 vehicles a year in each Member State).

Minimum thresholds for recycling and recovery

In accordance with Directive 2005/64/EC, vehicles may be put on the market only if they are re-usable and/or recyclable to a minimum of 85% by mass or are re-usable and/or recoverable to a minimum of 95% by mass. The minimum thresholds for the recycling and recovery of components (new and used) and materials for new vehicles were set in Article 7(4) of Directive 2000/53/EC. Checks on components and materials are based on standard ISO 22628: 2002 developed by the International Standards Organisation.

Re-use of components

The Directive bans the re-use of some component parts, which it lists, in the construction of new vehicles. The re-use of these components in another vehicle after they have been dismantled from end-of-life vehicles presents serious risks to road safety and environmental protection. The aim is therefore to ensure that re-used component parts continue to offer the same level of performance as is required to obtain type-approval.

Certificate of compliance

The manufacturer must put in place satisfactory arrangements and procedures in order to obtain the certificate of compliance detailed in Annex IV to Directive 2005/64/CE. In particular, it must ensure that materials and parts do not contain any lead, mercury, cadmium or hexavalent chromium (with the exception of the cases listed in Annex II to Directive 2000/53/EC). Furthermore, it must manage the re-use, the recycling and the recovery of materials and parts in accordance with this Directive.

Member States appoint a competent organisation responsible for carrying out the preliminary assessment of the manufacturer and granting the certificate of compliance. The certificate shall be valid for two years from the date of deliverance of the certificate before new checks shall be conducted. The manufacturer shall inform the competent body of any significant change that could affect the relevance of the certificate of compliance.

Timetable

The provisions of this Directive will apply from 15 December 2008 to new types of vehicles put on the market, and from 15 July 2010 for models already in production.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 2005/64/EC

15.12.2005

15.12.2006

OJ L 310 of 25.11.2005

The successive amendments and corrections to Directive 2005/64/EC have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.

Related Acts

Directive 67/548/EEC of the Council of 27 June 1967 on the approximation of laws, regulations and administrative provisions relating to the classification, packaging and labelling of dangerous substances [Official Journal L 196 of 16.8.1967].

Action plan in favour of environmental technologies

Action plan in favour of environmental technologies

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Action plan in favour of environmental technologies

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Enterprise > Interaction between enterprise policy and other policies

Action plan in favour of environmental technologies

The European Union is adopting an action plan to promote environmental technologies (technologies whose use is less environmentally harmful than relevant alternatives) in order to reduce pressures on our natural resources, improve the quality of life of European citizens and stimulate economic growth. The action plan’s objectives are to remove the obstacles so as to tap the full potential of environmental technologies, to ensure that the EU takes a leading role in applying them and to mobilise all stakeholders in support of these objectives.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 28 January 2004 entitled: “Stimulating technologies for sustainable development: an environmental technologies action plan for the European Union” [COM(2004) 38 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This action plan in favour of environmental technologies concerns technologies to manage pollution, less polluting and less resource-intensive products and services and ways to manage resources more efficiently. These environmentally friendly technologies pervade all economic activities and sectors. They cut costs and improve competitiveness by reducing energy and resource consumption and so creating fewer emissions and less waste.

Key factors in promoting the environmental technologies

The Commission identifies a number of factors which in its opinion are of importance when promoting environmental technologies and which underpin this action plan:

  • environmental technologies are very diverse and can be applied in all economic sectors;
  • many environmental technologies are under-used, because of among other things low consumer awareness of their benefits, difficult access to finance and market prices which do not reflect the environmental benefits;
  • targeted and effective incentives can contribute to the successful introduction of environmental technologies;
  • reducing uncertainty about future market developments would boost investment in environmental technologies;
  • the experience and commitment of the various stakeholders is vital in promoting environmental technologies;
  • the optimum use of policy and economic instruments (such as legislation, voluntary measures etc.) can accelerate the uptake of environmental technologies;
  • some of the measures which are needed to promote environmental technologies may not affect investment decisions immediately.

In Annex II to this communication, the Commission identifies the barriers to the development of environmentally friendly technologies. There are four types: economic, regulatory, technological and diffusion barriers.

Actions proposed in the plan

The actions proposed fall into three main areas according to their effect:

  • getting environmental technologies from research laboratories to markets;
  • improving market conditions to promote the adoption of environmental technologies;
  • promoting environmental technologies at global level.

In order to get environmental technologies from the research laboratories to the markets, three priority actions are proposed:

  • develop and focus research, demonstration and dissemination programmes;
  • establish technology platforms for environmental technologies;
  • establish European networks for standardisation, testing and performance verification related to environmental technologies.

To improve market conditions, the Commission is proposing among other things to:

  • set performance targets for the main products, services and processes;
  • use financial instruments (loans, risk capital, guarantee mechanisms) to share the risk of investing in environmental technologies;
  • review the guidelines on State aid;
  • revise subsidies which have a negative impact on the environment;
  • encourage the purchase of environmental technologies;
  • increase consumer and business awareness of environmental technologies;
  • organise targeted training in environmental technologies.

With a view to promoting environmental technologies at international level, the priority action proposed by the Commission seeks to encourage responsible investment in environmentally-friendly technologies, as well as the use of environmental technologies in developing countries and those undergoing economic transition.

Background

This Action Plan is based on the results of extensive stakeholder consultations and an assessment of the barriers hindering the development of environmental technologies.

The Action Plan will be implemented in synergy with the Lisbon Process and the 6th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development.

Related Acts

Following up the Action Plan

Communication from the Commission of 27 January 2005: Report on the implementation of the Environmental Technologies Action Plan in 2004 [COM(2005) 16 – Official Journal C 123 of 21.05.2005].
The Commission considers that the implementation of the priorities in the Action Plan is well underway, particularly in terms of establishing technology platforms and key orientation documents which should catalyse the development of environmental technologies, funding from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the preparation for an international support fund. However, the Commission highlights the need to step up work in this area, in particular by mobilising European risk funding, fixing environmental performance targets for products, processes and services, establishing an EU wide system for testing and verifying environmental technologies as part of work to revise the Guidelines for environmental State aids, defining market development and industrial performance indicators, setting up national implementing roadmaps and drawing up action plans for public procurement.


Another Normative about Action plan in favour of environmental technologies

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic

Employment and social policy > European Strategy for Growth > Growth and jobs

Action plan in favour of environmental technologies

The European Union is adopting an action plan to promote environmental technologies (technologies whose use is less environmentally harmful than relevant alternatives) in order to reduce pressures on our natural resources, improve the quality of life of European citizens and stimulate economic growth. The action plan’s objectives are to remove the obstacles so as to tap the full potential of environmental technologies, to ensure that the EU takes a leading role in applying them and to mobilise all stakeholders in support of these objectives.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 28 January 2004 entitled: “Stimulating technologies for sustainable development: an environmental technologies action plan for the European Union” [COM(2004) 38 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This action plan in favour of environmental technologies concerns technologies to manage pollution, less polluting and less resource-intensive products and services and ways to manage resources more efficiently. These environmentally friendly technologies pervade all economic activities and sectors. They cut costs and improve competitiveness by reducing energy and resource consumption and so creating fewer emissions and less waste.

Key factors in promoting the environmental technologies

The Commission identifies a number of factors which in its opinion are of importance when promoting environmental technologies and which underpin this action plan:

  • environmental technologies are very diverse and can be applied in all economic sectors;
  • many environmental technologies are under-used, because of among other things low consumer awareness of their benefits, difficult access to finance and market prices which do not reflect the environmental benefits;
  • targeted and effective incentives can contribute to the successful introduction of environmental technologies;
  • reducing uncertainty about future market developments would boost investment in environmental technologies;
  • the experience and commitment of the various stakeholders is vital in promoting environmental technologies;
  • the optimum use of policy and economic instruments (such as legislation, voluntary measures etc.) can accelerate the uptake of environmental technologies;
  • some of the measures which are needed to promote environmental technologies may not affect investment decisions immediately.

In Annex II to this communication, the Commission identifies the barriers to the development of environmentally friendly technologies. There are four types: economic, regulatory, technological and diffusion barriers.

Actions proposed in the plan

The actions proposed fall into three main areas according to their effect:

  • getting environmental technologies from research laboratories to markets;
  • improving market conditions to promote the adoption of environmental technologies;
  • promoting environmental technologies at global level.

In order to get environmental technologies from the research laboratories to the markets, three priority actions are proposed:

  • develop and focus research, demonstration and dissemination programmes;
  • establish technology platforms for environmental technologies;
  • establish European networks for standardisation, testing and performance verification related to environmental technologies.

To improve market conditions, the Commission is proposing among other things to:

  • set performance targets for the main products, services and processes;
  • use financial instruments (loans, risk capital, guarantee mechanisms) to share the risk of investing in environmental technologies;
  • review the guidelines on State aid;
  • revise subsidies which have a negative impact on the environment;
  • encourage the purchase of environmental technologies;
  • increase consumer and business awareness of environmental technologies;
  • organise targeted training in environmental technologies.

With a view to promoting environmental technologies at international level, the priority action proposed by the Commission seeks to encourage responsible investment in environmentally-friendly technologies, as well as the use of environmental technologies in developing countries and those undergoing economic transition.

Background

This Action Plan is based on the results of extensive stakeholder consultations and an assessment of the barriers hindering the development of environmental technologies.

The Action Plan will be implemented in synergy with the Lisbon Process and the 6th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development.

Related Acts

Following up the Action Plan

Communication from the Commission of 27 January 2005: Report on the implementation of the Environmental Technologies Action Plan in 2004 [COM(2005) 16 – Official Journal C 123 of 21.05.2005].
The Commission considers that the implementation of the priorities in the Action Plan is well underway, particularly in terms of establishing technology platforms and key orientation documents which should catalyse the development of environmental technologies, funding from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the preparation for an international support fund. However, the Commission highlights the need to step up work in this area, in particular by mobilising European risk funding, fixing environmental performance targets for products, processes and services, establishing an EU wide system for testing and verifying environmental technologies as part of work to revise the Guidelines for environmental State aids, defining market development and industrial performance indicators, setting up national implementing roadmaps and drawing up action plans for public procurement.

Environment Policy Review – 2008

Environment Policy Review – 2008

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Environment Policy Review – 2008

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > General provisions

Environment Policy Review – 2008

The 2008 Environment Policy Review reports on the progress made in European Union (EU) policy during 2008 and analyses future challenges.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 24 June 2009: 2008 Environment Policy Review [COM(2009) 304 final Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The environment is at the top of the policy agenda. This transversal policy can help the European Union (EU) to emerge from the global economic and financial crisis which affected the European continent in 2008, by paving the way for low-carbon growth and enhancing energy efficiency.

In this Communication, the Commission reviews the events which marked EU environment policy during 2008. It describes in particular the progress made in the four priority areas established by the Sixth Environment Action Programme: climate change, biodiversity, the environment and health, and the sustainable management of resources and wastes.

The fight against climate change was emphasised in December 2008 by a series of legislative proposals forming the climate-energy package and demonstrating the EU’s commitment to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 30 % of 1990 levels by 2020 if other developed countries agreed comparable reductions or by at least 20% if they did not. This package aims at improving the Community greenhouse gas emission allowance trading scheme (EU ETS) and extending it to other greenhouse gases and other sectors. It also includes a proposal aimed at promoting renewable energies and another aimed at the reliable deployment of capture technologies and carbon storage.

Aside from the climate-energy package, the EU adopted other measures relating to climate change to reduceemissions on new vehicles and improve fuel quality.

The negotiation programme established at the Poznan conference in December 2008 should lead to a global agreement on climate change at the December 2009 United Nations Climate Conference in Copenhagen. This agreement will replace the Kyoto Protocol when it expires in 2012.

With regard to the loss of biodiversity, the EU has continued its efforts in accordance with the Community Action Plan aimed at halting the reduction of biological diversity by 2010. The main measures that have been implemented consist of developing the Natura 2000 network by creating new sites in Bulgaria and Romania, and combating the spread of invasive species by proposing a number of strategic options including the creation of a Europe-wide early warning system to report new or emerging species.

In 2008, two initiatives were introduced to protect global forests which contribute to tackling climate change and the reduction in biodiversity. The first is a Regulation framing the timber and timber products market in Europe, and the second is a Communication presenting proposals from the Commission in order to combat tropical deforestation.

In the future, work will be directed at increasing biodiversity protection in the high seas under the Convention on Biological Diversity and related to the work of the International Whaling Commission, and at the prohibition of products from seals sacrificed with disregard for animal welfare rules.

In the area of environment and health, 2008 was marked by the entry into force of the REACH Regulation, aimed at reinforcing safety standards for chemicals produced in or imported into the EU. Other measures have been adopted concerning dangerous substances and mercury. The Directive on ambient air quality and pure air for Europe came into force in June. The Commission presented initiatives for sustainable transport and to reduce industrial emissions.

For 2009, work in the area of the environment and health will be concentrated on the amendment of the Directive on biocidal products and the establishment of new standards for vehicle emissions in order to adapt it to the REACH Regulation.

Concerning the management of naturalresources and waste, EU action relates to the protection of the water cycle (surface water and the marine environment), the development of sustainable production and consumption (ecodesign and the Ecolabel Scheme) and the improvement of waste recycling (ship dismantling, electrical and electronic equipment and bio-waste).

In 2009, the EU plans to introduce an environmental technology verification scheme to boost the confidence of buyers in the performance of new environmental technologies.

In 2008, progress was accomplished towards simplifying environment legislation through the development of programmes intended to improve the implementation of Community environmental laws. The Commission plans to use a broad set of tools to prevent breaches of the law, such as targeted use of Community funds and enhanced pre-accession support for enlargement countries.

Context

This annual activity report is a contribution to the Lisbon Process and the European Sustainable Development Strategy, of which the environment is an essential element.

2007 Environment Policy Review

2007 Environment Policy Review

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about 2007 Environment Policy Review

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > General provisions

2007 Environment Policy Review

The 2007 Environment Policy Review reports on progress in European Union (EU) policy during 2007 and analyses coming challenges.

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 2 July 2008 “2007 Environment policy review” [COM(2008) 409 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The Commission highlights that a certain number of decisive steps were taken in 2007 in European Union environmental policy, with in particular the endorsement by the European Council of the energy and climate change package. In January 2008, the Commission translated the commitments into concrete action by adopting a Climate Action and Renewable Energy implementation package which includes proposals on the improvement of the greenhouse gas emission allowance trading scheme, the participation of Member States in efforts to reduce emissions from non-ETS sectors, the promotion of renewable energies and the geological storage of carbon. The Commission also published new guidelines on State aid for the protection of the environment.

In other fields, the commitments under theEnvironment Action Programme have almost all been delivered. The Commission presented seven thematic strategies (air, waste prevention and recycling, marine environment, soil, pesticides, natural resources and urban environment) and the accompanying legislative proposals have been adopted or are being adopted. Moreover, an Industrial Emissions Directive has been adopted. The REACH Regulation, the Environmental Liability Directive and the Regulation on hazardous waste shipment came into force.

Financial instruments

New financial instruments for environmental policy became operational in 2007, including LIFE+, the Thematic programme for the environment and the sustainable management of natural resources, including energy, and the financial instrument for civil protection.

“Better Regulation”

The Commission has also continued to take action to simplify legislation and to improve its efficiency, in particular by presenting a Green Paper devoted to market-based instruments and guidelines to clarify standards for monitoring and declaring greenhouse gas emissions.

The environment in other policies

Integration of the environment into other policies progressed in 2007, particularly in transport with the entry into force of the Regulation on pollutant emissions from light vehicles (Euro 5 and Euro 6 standards) and proposals on new norms for CO2 emissions from new vehicles and heavy-duty vehicles, and on fuel quality. This integration has also been continued in the fields of agriculture, cohesion policy, development, health, industrial policy, research and commercial policy.

International

Internationally, 2007 was marked in particular by the decision taken in Bali to work on a global agreement on the warming of the climate system after 2012, the decision of the 14th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species to declare a nine-year moratorium on ivory sales, and the launch of negotiations between the Commission, Indonesia, Ghana and Cameroon on logging.

Challenges in 2008 and beyond

Despite progress made in 2007, the Commission highlights that efforts must not be relaxed because there are still many challenges ahead. It also stresses the need to strengthen implementation of environmental policy, which is often slow or incomplete in Member States. To this end, the Commission will step up its efforts to support Member States through better information exchange, guidance and training.

In 2008, the Commission will present an Action Plan on Sustainable Consumption and Production, a revision of the Community Eco-Management and Audit System (EMAS) and the Ecolabel scheme, and will present a White Paper on adaptation to climate change.

Context

This annual activity report aims at ensuring that the 6th Environment Action Programme is monitored. It also aims to contribute to the Lisbon Process and the European Sustainable
Development Strategy.