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Wednesday, 9 September 2020

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Check out our latest coverage in our Energy & Environment policy hub or follow our latest updates on @eaEnergyEU
By Frédéric Simon (@FredSimonEU) and Sam Morgan (@SamJamesMorgan)

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[Energy & Environment] European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will next week confirm a new emissions-busting goal for 2030. But setting a target is the easy part of the climate fight.

[Energy & Environment] The 1991 Energy Charter Treaty must be profoundly overhauled in order to remove all “obsolete” provisions protecting fossil fuel investments and hindering climate action, lawmakers from across Europe said on Tuesday (8 September).

[Energy & Environment] Germany's conservative CDU/CSU Union has admitted to its own shortcomings when it comes to climate policy and is now searching for a new chairman and candidate for the chancellor's spot, which will shape the union's course on environmental policy. EURACTIV Germany reports.

[Ocean Energy] New forms of ocean energy are gaining interest globally, and because European companies are leaders on tidal and wave technologies, that is good news for the environment and for the European economy, argues Francesco la Camera.

[Energy & Environment] Increasing the EU’s domestic supply of critical raw materials and cutting external dependencies got top billing in a new European Commission strategy on Thursday (3 September), as the bloc started to get serious about its Green Deal and digital agenda.

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[Global Europe] More than a billion people are at risk of being displaced by 2050 due to rapid population growth, shortage of food and water and increased exposure to natural disasters, which could lead to increased migration flows to Europe, according to a new report by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP).

[Energy & Environment] German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her economy minister on Tuesday (8 September) played down the possibility of halting the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany as part of any sanctions imposed on Moscow due to the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

[Energy & Environment] Poland wants to speed up phasing out coal and spend billions to build renewable and nuclear power infrastructure to address challenges related to climate change and ensure stable power supplies, the government said on Tuesday (8 September).

[Transport] Road transport should not be top of the list when the European Union expands its carbon market into new sectors, the bloc's climate policy chief said on Tuesday (8 September).

[Transport] Without bold and fast action to transform the way we move around in our cities, we will be unable to avoid the worst impacts of climate change and air pollution, warn Anabel Diaz and William Todts, as ride-hailing firm Uber announces a new global zero-emission goal.

[Pesticides] After announcing €30 billion in support of an ecological transition last Thursday, the French government presented a controversial bill authorising an exemption from the ban on neonicotinoid insecticides, a class of pesticides suspected to be harmful to bees. German Green MEP Martin Häusling explains to EURACTIV FRANCE why he is challenging the decision.

[Energy & Environment] German Chancellor Angela Merkel will not rule out consequences for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project if Russia fails to thoroughly investigate opposition leader Alexei Navalny's poisoning, her spokesman said Monday (7 September).

[Hydrogen] Considering the limited amount of green hydrogen available, the European Commission should prioritise its use in sectors that cannot decarbonise through other means like electrification, write Miriam Dalli and Mohammed Chahim.

[Energy & Environment] In the EU, 13 percent of deaths are linked to pollution, said a new report published on Tuesday (8 September) by the European Environment Agency (EEA), which stressed the current pandemic put environmental health factors in the spotlight.

[Energy & Environment] The window for a post-Brexit trade deal is closing fast but the basics are already in place for an agreement on the energy sector, and mutual benefits would be huge, writes Michael Grubb.

[Sports] The German football team has faced criticism for flying between the cities of Stuttgart and Basel on Sunday (6 September) instead of taking a train on the 260-kilometre journey. The Bundesrepublik's football federation cited virus restrictions as a deciding factor.

[Energy transition] Major economies promised to recover green after COVID-19 and accelerate climate action during a virtual ministerial meeting hosted by Japan on Thursday (3 September). EURACTIV's media partner, Climate Home News, reports.

[Energy & Environment] The European Union should include a “solidarity clause” in its climate law to ensure that member states most burdened by the EU's new carbon reduction targets are compensated for the additional costs of purchasing allowances under the EU Emissions Trading System, writes MEP Anna Zalewska.

[Transport] A growing body of scientific research linking tyre wear to microplastic pollution, as well as increasing scrutiny from lawmakers in the European Union, has led the €150 billion-a-year tyre industry to fight back.

[Politics] ‘Deplorable’, ‘unacceptable’, ‘an attack on fundamental freedoms’. Europe’s leaders this week held their own competition on who could give the most magisterial admonishment to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin following the deliberate poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

[Electric vehicles] The European Commission has reiterated its ambition (https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/news/eu-unveils-blueprint-for-a-more-efficient-energy-system/) to roll out at least one million public electric vehicle charging stations over the next 5 years. But how can the EU ensure that consumers really benefit wherever they are in Europe? One of the keys to success lies in e-roaming, argues Kristof Vereenooghe.

[Oil and Industry] Big oil producers are pinning their future growth on the world's insatiable appetite for plastic, researchers said Friday (4 September), in a "bet" on society's failure to tackle disposable consumption that risks stranding billions of dollars in petrochemical investments.

[Pesticides] At its back-to-school meeting on Tuesday (1 September), France's National Council for Ecological Transition addressed the controversial issue of reintroducing neonicotinoids, a class of pesticides, to save the sugar beet industry. The issue is causing quite a stir both at home and across the Rhine. EURACTIV France reports.

[Shipping] A proposed ban on polluting ship fuel in Arctic waters would only eliminate 5% of the most harmful climate-busting emissions due to a raft of waivers and exemptions, a new study warned on Thursday (3 September).

[Renewable energies] The official draft for an amendment to Germany's Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) has been made public. It contains incentives for more wind energy in southern Germany and measures for ageing turbines, but critics say there is still a lot of room for improvement. EURACTIV Germany reports.

[Energy & Environment] We all know about the huge expansion of offshore wind envisaged in Europe. But the EU wants onshore wind to grow even more: from 174 GW today to up to 750 GW in 2050. This is doable and will bring lots of benefits to the European economy and citizens. Find out about onshore wind’s benefits in this infographic.

[European Green Deal] Business consultancy EY has identified 1,000 green projects it says will help Europe recover stronger and more resilient from the economic slump caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

[Green finance] Germany saw good demand for its first-ever green bond on Wednesday (2 September), in a landmark moment for Europe's climate-focused finance drive.

[Shipping] Japanese shipbuilding giant Mitsubishi announced on Monday (31 August) that it will build and test a carbon-capture system for ships, which is aimed at significantly reducing the emissions of the maritime sector.

[Energy & Environment] If the European Green Deal made economic sense before the COVID-19 crisis, “it makes even more sense now” because it will help reboot the economy, said Frans Timmermans, the EU Commission vice-president in charge of climate action.

[Energy & Environment] Cepi, the Confederation of European Paper Industries, and EPIS, the European Pulp Industry Sector Association and its members, present their #GreenSource initiative, a European-wide effort to explain how the forest fibre industries make the 2050 climate neutrality target a reality....

[Transport] New EU rules on monitoring the vehicles on Europe’s roads come into force on Tuesday (1 September), granting the European Commission added powers to police car emissions and take to task any manufacturers that breach the law.

[Plastics strategy] A draft EU ban on microplastics would allow industry to use even smaller particles in cosmetics, detergents and paints, which could be more damaging than the tiny pieces of plastic already clogging up the natural world, campaigners and some EU advisers say.

[Energy & Environment] The European Commission will announce the launch of a new industry alliance this week, with a view to building a complete EU supply chain for raw materials like lithium, which are seen as critical for the bloc’s digital and green transitions.

[Economy & Jobs] Protests against the planned EU-Mercosur trade agreement were held on Friday (28 August), with the participating groups citing the incompatibilities of the EU's climate ambitions with actions taken by the Brazilian government.

[Cities & regions] The Proterina-3Evolution project has gathered fourteen Italian and French partners from the coastal region to fight against flood risks together, as they share the same risks and benefit from the same support fund, EURACTIV France reports.

[Energy transition] By 2038, Germany's last coal-fired power plants are expected to be shut down. To reorient the regions economically, however, they are to be replaced by research institutions and companies. A coordination committee will now begin allocating the funding, EURACTIV Germany reports.

[Energy & Environment] Only with a strong law can European consumers be confident that the production of the food they eat does not fuel the horrendous fires we witness every year in the Amazon, writes Ester Asin.

[Global Europe] EU foreign ministers agreed on Friday (28 August) on a list of sanctions against Turkey in the event that Ankara does not de-escalate its actions in the increasingly tense Eastern Mediterranean, including illegal drilling for oil and gas.

[Energy & Environment] Swedish battery maker Northvolt says Europe is catching up with Asian rivals in the manufacturing of car batteries but warns that more efforts are needed to build a complete supply chain “ecosystem” in the EU.

[Energy & Environment] France has suspended the glue-trapping of songbirds this year but stopped short of abolishing the controversial practice which is criticised as barbaric by bird lovers and banned under European Union regulations.

[Energy & Environment] A nuclear energy venture founded by Bill Gates said Thursday (27 August) it hopes to build small advanced nuclear power stations that can store electricity to supplement grids increasingly supplied by intermittent sources like solar and wind power.

[Hydrogen] While China currently produces the cheapest electrolysers in the world, Europe leads on innovative technologies which are better suited to produce green hydrogen seen by many as a silver bullet to decarbonise the energy system.

[Energy & Environment] Europe's academies of science have called on EU lawmakers to introduce a “radically new standard” in the bloc's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) to ensure net carbon emissions from biomass power stations are “properly accounted for and declared”.

[Energy & Environment] Poland could phase out coal as early as 2035 under a “business as usual scenario,” according to Greenpeace, which performed an analysis of the latest government plans to restructure the country’s virus-hit energy sector.

[Energy & Environment] Norway is planning to expand oil drilling in previously untouched areas of the Arctic, a move campaigners say threatens the fragile ecosystem and could spark a military standoff with Russia.

[World] Russia on Wednesday (26 August) voiced fears over EU plans for carbon taxes on imports from countries outside the bloc, a move that would hit hard a country heavily dependent on hydrocarbons trade.

[Energy & Environment] A coalition of businesses including Signify, Glencore and Fairphone have launched a joint initiative to improve the economic, working and social conditions of those working in the cobalt supply chain. EURACTIV's media partner, edie.net, reports.

[Sustainable Manufacturing] While chemical recycling opens new possibilities for the circular economy, only a full lifecycle approach will be able to determine the real environmental benefits in terms of saved energy and global warming emissions, a senior EU official has said.

[Green finance] The gas and nuclear industries have ramped up lobbying to secure last-ditch changes to European rules defining which investments are sustainable, fearing that exclusion from a new “green” list could deprive them of billions of dollars of funding.

[Green finance] Germany on Monday (24 August) announced details of its first "green" bond placing, tapping financial markets to fund environmental projects for the first time.

[Green finance] The European Union's strategy to adapt to the risks of climate change needs to be much more proactive and ambitious in order to reduce the risk of natural disasters such as flooding, insurers said in response to a consultation on the issue.

[Energy & Environment] The European Union’s long-awaited plan to curb emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane will not impose binding standards on natural gas sold in the bloc, according to a draft seen by Reuters.

[Shipping] An emission control area for sulphur oxides in the Mediterranean is not a panacea, but it would open new possibilities for the region’s future while contributing to its health, writes Gaetano Leone.

[Energy & Environment] Finance Minister Olaf Scholz will lead the German Social Democrats (SPD) into the campaign for federal elections in 2021. Not an easy task for a party that faces strong competition from the Greens for number two position, behind the CDU/CSU conservatives. EURACTIV Germany reports.

[Sustainable Manufacturing] The UK is to get its first commercial refinery for extracting precious metals from electronic waste, which will also be the world’s first to use bacteria rather than cyanide-based processes.

[Economy & Jobs] Days ahead of a final deadline, activation of a long-planned Algeria-EU trade deal risks unravelling as political and business leaders in the North African country warn it will undermine economic sovereignty.

[Energy & Environment] A European Union plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions up to 55% below 1990 levels by 2030 is technically and economically possible, researchers said on Monday (24 August).

[Energy & Environment] Diversification of supplies, including the recent discovery by Turkey of gas in the Black Sea are welcome developments that are unlikely to impact on Azerbaijani gas being a very favourable option for the Turkish gas market, writes Esmira Jafarova.

[Turkey] President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday (21 August) said Turkey had made its biggest-ever discovery of natural gas after completing new exploration work in the Black Sea.

[Energy & Environment] This Saturday (22 August) will be "Earth Overshoot Day", the day on which Earth's ecosystems will be exhausted, and humanity's demand for the planet's resources for the rest of the year can no longer be regenerated, EURACTIV Germany reports.

[Energy & Environment] Key members of the "Fridays for Future" (FFF) movement in Berlin called on German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) on Thursday (20 August) to become more involved in the fight against global warming after what was described as a "friendly" meeting. EURACTIV France reports.

[Energy & Environment] Germany could meet its climate target for 2020 but would have missed the goal if the economic havoc wrought by the coronavirus pandemic had not caused a large drop in greenhouse gas emissions, the country’s environment ministry said.

[Circular economy] Giving a new life to plastic trash gets Carlos Bento out of bed every morning. But the coronavirus pandemic has seen revenues drop up to 40% at Micronipol, the large recycling facility he runs in central Portugal, and it faces an uncertain future.

[Energy & Environment] The European Commission will table proposals next month to raise the EU's climate target for 2030, amid warnings from Eastern countries to safeguard jobs and growth from the coronavirus fallout.

 

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