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Friday, 2 April 2021

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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 Kira Taylor (@KiraTaylor15)

[Energy & Environment] A group of climate campaigners led by Greta Thunberg have met with European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans, urging him to withdraw current proposals to reform the bloc’s Common Agricultural Policy.

[Energy & Environment] Greetings and welcome to EURACTIV’s Green Brief. Below you’ll find the latest roundup of news covering energy & environment from across Europe. You can subscribe to the weekly newsletter here. It’s been three years now at least since discussions on...

[Energy & Environment] Little progress was made in the fifth round of negotiations on the European Climate Law last Friday (26 March), despite growing time pressure to have the bill agreed by mid-April, according to people involved in the talks, which are being held behind closed doors.

[Energy & Environment] The leadership contest at the Brussels-based Energy Charter Treaty Secretariat appears to be down to two candidates, the current secretary-general, Slovakia's Urban Rusnák, and Guy Lentz from Luxembourg, EURACTIV has learned from sources familiar with the situation.

[Green finance] Experts tasked with assessing whether the European Union should label nuclear power as a green investment will say that the fuel qualifies as sustainable, according to a leaked document.

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[Energy & Environment] The severity of crop losses driven by heat waves and drought have tripled in the last fifty years in Europe, according to a study that highlights the vulnerability of food systems to climate change.

[Circular materials] Green campaigners have warned that failure by the EU to designate rubber infill derived from tyres as a banned microplastic will lead to significant environmental harm – a claim the tyre and recycling industries strongly reject.

[Industrial decarbonisation] Europe should support high sustainability standards for clean hydrogen in its green finance rules, argue a group of 24 renewable energy companies and industry bodies in a letter sent to the European Commission on Wednesday (31 March).

[Hydrogen] A group of 88 lawmakers in the European Parliament have joined environmental NGOs and the renewable energy industry to demand the exclusion of low-carbon fossil fuels from the upcoming revision of the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive.

[Circular materials] Europe has an opportunity to use the textiles strategy, due to be published this year, to build on its history of textile manufacturing and switch to a more sustainable industry, benefitting citizens and the environment, writes Valérie Boiten.

[Energy & Environment] A group representing European investors managing €36 trillion in assets renewed pressure on the European Commission to introduce mandatory methane emissions standards for natural gas, according to a letter dated 31 March.

[Energy transition] The value of share offerings in fossil fuel companies has dropped by almost 20% since 2012, while low-carbon companies gained ground in a shift towards clean energy, a report by think-tank Carbon Tracker showed on Wednesday (31 March).

[Energy & Environment] A mini urban forest of 100 square metres is big enough to plant 15 to 30 tree types and recreate the ecosystem of a full-scale forest, according to Nicolas de Brabandère, founder of the Belgian company, Urban Forest. EURACTIV France reports.

[Hydrogen] It's seen as the missing link in the race for carbon-neutrality: "green" hydrogen produced without fossil fuel energy is a popular buzzword in competing press releases and investment plans across the globe.

[European Green Deal] A blanket 10% rate of interest on borrowing is being assumed for the European Commission's upcoming 2030 package of climate and energy laws. This fails to take into account the present low rates across most European countries, writes Ursula Woodburn.

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[Energy & Environment] The leaked version of the revised Taxonomy delegated act on climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation is still miles away from the industry’s needs.

[Energy & Environment] Czechs and Germans who live in the shadow of the vast Turów mine claim it is an environmental menace. Some in Poland want to weaponise its defence. EURACTIV’s media partner, The Guardian, reports.

[Sports] The Olympic Games to be held in Paris in 2024 will be the "first sporting event in the world" to have a positive impact on the climate, according to the Paris 2024 board of directors, which approved its climate strategy in mid-March. EURACTIV France reports.

[Energy & Environment] France, Spain, and Portugal launched the joint Cetambicion marine project on 15 March to protect cetaceans in the Bay of Biscay, but researchers and civil society campaigners say it is a waste of 'precious' time. EURACTIV France reports.

[Green finance] Poland, Bulgaria and seven other countries have stepped up their push to ensure natural gas is classed as a sustainable investment under EU finance rules, warning Brussels its latest proposal falls short, a document seen by Reuters showed.

[Shipping] The grounding of the Ever Given has caught the public’s attention. But it’s just the latest example of an accident in an industry where losing control can have disastrous consequences, writes Albert de Hoop.

[Energy & Environment] Our world is facing major challenges and requires urgent action to ensure the well-being of our and future generations. With growing consumption needs, so are the demands for more sustainable solutions.

[Energy & Environment] The UK Government has confirmed that it will axe its Green Homes Grant Scheme, which had £1.5bn of its £2bn funding pot withdrawn, on Wednesday (31 March).

[Industrial decarbonisation] Europe has set a clear goal for full decarbonisation by 2050, with renewables-based electricity set to become the dominant energy carrier, and that means fossil gas will have “only a marginal role” in the long run, EU climate chief Frans Timmermans said on Thursday (25 March).

[Industrial decarbonisation] The European Commission has made it clear that industries covered by the EU’s upcoming carbon border levy will no longer receive free CO2 allowances under the bloc’s carbon market, the emissions trading scheme (EU ETS).

[Energy & Environment] The European Commission is currently working on the drafting of the Single-Use Plastics Directive Guidelines, the main purpose of which is to clarify which products are to be considered included in the scope of the Directive.

[Industrial decarbonisation] Some African countries consider the EU's planned carbon border levy to be "protectionist". That was the upshot of a conference organised by the French government on Tuesday (23 March), which examined the challenges posed by the EU's upcoming mechanism. EURACTIV France reports.

[Energy & Environment] The European Commission's upcoming June package of energy and climate laws will “propose the extension of the emission trading scheme to sectors such as building and road transport,” the EU's energy commissioner Kadri Simson said on Thursday (25 March).

[Energy & Environment] Europe has the opportunity to lead the global shift towards net-zero emissions and reap the rewards of the green transformation, said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at an event on Wednesday (24 March).

[Energy & Environment] We started to investigate Artificial Intelligence decades ago with an R&D focus. In 2017, we fully realized the potential of this technology and decided to use it as a driver of change at EDF. Since then, a hundred use-cases have been investigated and around thirty are implemented in our different business units.

[Green finance] A group of seven European leaders fronted by French President Emmanuel Macron has called on the European Commission to stop hindering nuclear power and consider ways of bringing atomic energy into the EU’s green finance rule book ahead of an EU summit on Thursday (25 March).

[Transport] A solitary trip in a petrol or diesel-powered car may release more emissions per passenger than an intra-EU flight, a new EU study into the environmental impact of transport modes has found.

[European Green Deal] The renewed focus on the COVID-19 crisis and delays with the European vaccination campaign are set to overshadow talks on how to align industrial policy with the EU's climate goals at an EU summit meeting on Thursday (25 March).

[Energy & Environment] The environment ministers of Poland, Bulgaria, and the Czech Republic have criticised the constraints imposed by the "do no significant harm" principle when it comes to EU funding. Others like Denmark, meanwhile, defend strict limits on fossil fuel spending in the EU's recovery plan.

[Energy & Environment] Greetings and welcome to EURACTIV’s Green Brief. Below you’ll find the latest roundup of news covering energy & environment from across Europe. You can subscribe to the weekly newsletter here. The media are often criticised for being overly cynical...

[Energy & Environment] As European energy and environment ministers join their peers at the International Energy Agency’s COP26 Net-Zero summit, they must set the pace for the global phase-out of coal, writes Maria Mendiluce.

[Circular materials] The current political debate on industrial policy lacks an honest acknowledgement of how much is already decided – from EU recovery budgets to the 2030 climate targets, write Sandrine Dixson-Declève and Janez Potočnik. Sandrine Dixson-Declève is the president of The...

[World] US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Tuesday (23 March) the Nord Stream 2 pipeline being built from Russia to Germany ran counter to the European Union's own interests and could undermine Ukraine.

[Industrial decarbonisation] The steel industry is a major contributor to the overall CO2 emissions worldwide, and, therefore, a significant driver of climate change. The sector generated about 2 billion tons of CO2 in 2018, according to the International Energy Agency, which is double the volume of 2000.

[Energy & Environment] An analysis of the anti-deforestation work of 553 of the world's largest businesses has found that just 1% are taking 'best practice' action. This is despite the multi-billion-dollar risks associated with inaction, EURACTIV's media partner edie.net reports.

[Energy & Environment] Half of Europe's 324 coal-fuelled power plants have either closed or announced a retirement date before 2030, it emerged on Monday (22 March) when French power utility EDF announced the 162nd plant will close in 2022.

[Economy & Jobs] The European Commission is set to propose legislation making it compulsory for companies to ensure that their supply chains are free of human rights and environmental abuse and corruption. And the direction of the debate among national and EU lawmakers, and among companies, is only going one way, says MEP Heidi Hautala.

[Ocean Energy] A new sub-target in the revised Renewable Energy Directive for the deployment of innovative tech is all it would take for Europe to reclaim its competitive edge in renewables.

[Green finance] The European Union plans to label some gas power plants as sustainable investments, after an initial proposal to deny them a green label faced a backlash from a group of 10 EU member states.

[Industrial decarbonisation] The European Parliament's industry and energy committee passed a resolution on Monday (22 March) supporting hydrogen produced from "low-carbon" energy sources, including fossil gas with carbon sequestration. The motion stopped short, however, of mentioning nuclear as a potential energy source.

[Energy & Environment] Policymakers, businesses and civil society urgently need to address the unprecedented biodiversity crisis to ensure the prosperity of future generations. Smart water management contributes to protecting freshwater resources and natural ecosystems that rely on it.

[Energy & Environment] The UK government’s flagship home insulation scheme, intended to kickstart a green recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, has been botched, disastrous in administration, devastating in some of its impacts, and stands in urgent need of rescue, an influential committee of MPs has said. EURACTIV's media partner, The Guardian, reports.

[Energy & Environment] Today, fiber packaging is one of the most innovative ecosystems and has a huge role to play in delivering the EU’s Green deal whilst helping drive hygiene and safety for consumers globally.

[Energy & Environment] A $2 trillion group of investors on Monday (22 March) urged the European Commission to be more ambitious in its planned overhaul of the bloc's huge farming subsidy programme to fight climate change and protect biodiversity.

[Batteries] EU countries expressed concern Thursday (18 March) that the European Commission’s sustainable battery proposal sets unworkable targets and deadlines and would increase bureaucratic costs for battery producers, raising the prospect that the legislation will require significant changes before entering into law.

[Energy & Environment] This week on EURACTIV’s Yellow Room, we are talking about the EU climate law negotiations - the progress made so far and the obstacles to reaching an agreement.

[Energy & Environment] Environment ministers from the 27 EU member states confirmed they would continue to push for a 55% net greenhouse gas reduction target by 2030 during a meeting of the environment council on Thursday (18 March), despite calls from Parliament to increase the EU's ambition.

[Geothermal] Advanced plasma-based technology “PLASMABIT®” has been recognized by the Solar Impulse Foundation as a possible game-changer that combines incremental environmental benefit and profitability. GA Drilling, a technological startup company from Slovakia, was attributed the “Solar Impulse Efficient Solution” Label following an...

[Sustainable Manufacturing] The European Commission will force companies to "get serious" about due diligence and non-financial reporting as it prepares to table key legislation in the coming months.

[Electric vehicles] Europe had a strong head start in electric cars in 2020, but the roadblocks of weak regulation, road cap-and-trade system and – above all – detour into e-fuels all stand in the way of Europe's ambition on zero emissions mobility, writes Julia Poliscanova.

[Industrial decarbonisation] A waste-to-energy plant in the Norwegian capital could become one of the world’s first carbon negative incinerators, pending a decision from the European Commission to fund a CO2 capture facility there. Environmentalists, for their part, are yet to be convinced.

[Renewable energies] Offshore wind could not only propel the Baltics to the forefront of the energy transition, but also to the ranks of clean energy exporters, writes Lukas Trakimavičius.

[European Green Deal] A key United Nations summit to negotiate an accord for nature similar to the Paris climate agreement has been postponed for a second time, it has been announced. EURACTIV's media partner, The Guardian, reports.

[Industrial decarbonisation] The Commission’s proposal for a revised regulation on trans-European energy networks (TEN-E) acknowledges the climate mitigation potential of carbon dioxide networks, but fails to introduce measures to that would allow it to become reality, argue Lina Strandvåg Nagell and Lee Beck.

[Renovation Wave] The European Commission must ensure that plans to price carbon emissions in the building sector does not lead to growing rates of homelessness, campaigners said on Wednesday (17 March).

[Energy & Environment] Fire retardancy is an essential component of modern building and product safety. By helping to preventing fires or reducing their rate of spread, effective flame retardants can extend the time available for action and intervention. This makes flame retardants an...

[Industrial decarbonisation] More than 90 energy companies, equipment manufacturers and gas network operators have called on the European Commission to consider hydrogen blending into natural gas for parts of Europe that cannot yet afford a dedicated hydrogen network.

[Road safety] EU funding is supporting member states to integrate digital technology into European highways, making travelling by road smarter. Intelligent Transport Systems have the potential to increase road safety and efficiency, cutting emissions and potentially saving lives, says Pieropaolo Tona.

[Energy & Environment] In a ruling on Wednesday (17 March) the EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg banned the traditional French bird-hunting practice that consists of using so-called glue traps because it was "likely to cause other than negligible damage to non-target species caught". EURACTIV France reports.

[Energy & Environment] Meeting the EU’s proposed new climate targets for 2030 will require a “transformation” of the bloc’s energy system, with a renewed focus on renewables and further efforts to cut fossil fuels in buildings, transport and industry.

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