ENDS Europe Policy Outlook by dominic.cecilia


									Policy Outlook
August 2012

What to look out for this autumn

•   The EU executive will publish a review of more permanent options to
    reform the emissions trading scheme (ETS) and support the carbon
    price, following its proposal to temporarily set aside between 400
    million and 1.2 billion carbon allowances (EUAs). Possible options for a
    deeper ETS reform include setting a tighter emission cap for 2030,
    cancelling some EUAs and extending the scheme to other sectors

•   The final annual amounts of free allowances to be allocated to ETS
    installations during the period 2013-20 will also be announced, based
    on an analysis of National Implementation Measures (NIMs) submitted
    by member states. The commission has received all NIMs except for
    the Italian plan, which is nearly ready

•   A legislative proposal on how to tackle greenhouse gas emissions from
    shipping is due this autumn. The results of a consultation launched in
    January will be released before the proposal, which is likely to come out
    in early December. Industry associations say making payments into an
    EU fund to help develop more energy-efficient maritime technology
    would be the best regional option

•   A policy paper to boost the development of carbon capture and
    storage (CCS) will be published towards the end of the year. It will
    explore pathways and policy measures for phasing out power
    generation from unabated fossil fuel-fired plants

•   Also expected this autumn is a legislation proposal to further reduce
    fluorinated gas emissions in the EU. The commission has consulted
    stakeholders on a range of options including limits on the quantity of f-
    gases placed on the European market, bans on certain products and
    voluntary agreements

•   In the Council of Ministers, the Cyprus presidency of the EU hopes to
    broker an agreement between member states on LULUCF accounting
    rules. The proposal will be discussed in the European Parliament's
    environment committee on 19 September

•   At international level, a high level UN panel will announce its
    recommendations in mid-September to reform the Clean Development
    Mechanism (CDM)

•   The next major meeting of international climate negotiators will start on
    26 November in Doha and run until 7 December

•   The EU's position on the composition and functioning of the ad-hoc
    working group on the Durban platform will be outlined in a green paper
    expected in September. The working group was set up to prepare a
    global binding agreement by 2015

•   In September, the European Commission is likely to put forward long
    awaited proposals to address the indirect land-use change (ILUC)
    effects of biofuels, based on an impact assessment that is being
    finalised. Several options have been discussed internally, including the
    introduction of crop-specific ILUC factors

•   A proposal for binding sustainability criteria for solid and gaseous
    biomass is still on the cards, according to an updated version of the
    commission's work programme for 2012, although green group WWF
    believes the EU executive is now planning to delay it for another five
    years. At a conference in February, an official said it wanted to extend
    the sustainability criteria for biofuels to solid biomass

•   In the Council of Ministers, the Cyprus EU presidency hopes to broker a
    deal on the revised energy taxation directive between finance
    ministers in November. In June, they broadly supported new minimum
    tax rates for fuels based on their CO2 level and energy content. But
    diesel looks likely to retain its tax advantage over petrol

•   Energy ministers will meet on 3 December in Brussels where they are
    likely to adopt a common position on the new renewable energy
    strategy presented by the commission in June.

•   The ministers will also continue discussions on a proposal to improve
    the safety of offshore oil and gas platforms in Europe. But at the
    moment Cyprus does not foresee a council agreement on this under its
    presidency. A vote on the proposal in the European Parliament's
    industry, research and energy committee is scheduled on 9 October

•   One of the main highlights this autumn will be the release of the
    commission's blueprint for water protection following the results of a
    Fitness Check of water policy which have yet to be made public

    During Green Week in June, the commission said the forthcoming plan
    would put more emphasis on tackling scarcity and on the full
    implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD), which it says
    will significantly improve the water efficiency of the farming sector.
    Binding measures on metering and water-using products to improve the
    water efficiency of buildings may also be proposed

•   The commission will publish a green paper on plastic waste initially
    planned in July. ENDS understands the delay is due to the sensitivity in
    some member states towards certain of the policy options being
    considered by Brussels regarding plastic bags, which include
    introducing taxes or charges or, less likely, bans

•   Plans to revise the 1986 directive on sewage sludge will come out by
    October. The commission's environment department and Joint
    Research Centre held a meeting in Brussels on 6 June to gather
    information from stakeholders on the impact of pollutants in sewage
    sludge, including those that have been less studied such as brominated
    flame retardants and pharmaceuticals

•   A green paper on the sustainability of phosphorous supplies will be
    issued to address concerns over dwindling reserves and explore the
    recovery potential in Europe

•   Also expect by October are legislative proposals to clarify the EU
    regulation on waste shipments and strengthen its requirements on
    inspections, following "deep concerns" expressed by member states in
    2010 about illegal shipments

•   In the Council of Ministers, environment ministers meeting in
    Luxembourg in October will hold a first debate on plans to tighten rules
    on the recycling of EU-registered ships as part of the implementation
    the Hong Kong convention. The Danish presidency has proposed
    delaying the entry into force of the new rules but the publication of an
    EU list of ship recycling facilities would be brought forward

•   A review of the REACH chemicals regime, initially due in July, will now
    be completed after the summer break. The commission says it is taking
    more time than anticipated to analyse the large volume of data
    collected as part of the review

•   In October, EU environment ministers are likely to reach an informal
    agreement on a commission proposal to ban cadmium in batteries for
    cordless power tools from 2016

•   In the European Parliament's environment committee, a vote on a
    proposed recast of rules on the classification, labelling and packaging
    (CLP) of dangerous preparations will be held on 10 October.

•   Swedish MEP Åsa Westlund will submit a draft resolution on the health
    risks of endocrine disrupters in the autumn. A vote in the committee is
    scheduled on 18 December

•   A proposal to revise the environmental impact assessment (EIA)
    directive will be put forward by the European Commission in the
    autumn. The EU executive has stressed it will not propose a radical
    overhaul of EIA rules, preferring instead technical changes or
    amendments addressing existing shortcomings

•   Proposals for a seventh EU environmental action plan (7EAP), which
    covers the period 2013-20, will be published towards the end of the
    year. Better implementation of existing legislation and deeper
    integration of green issues into the EU's broader policy framework are
    among the measures being considered

•   An EU regulatory committee will vote on ecodesign standards for
    three more product categories: networked standby modes, vacuum
    cleaners and water heaters
    Draft ecodesign and energy labelling rules for stand-alone room heaters
    will be debated by stakeholders on 20 September. Stakeholder
    discussions on transformers, televisions, central heating and cooling
    products, and professional washing machines, driers and dishwashers
    will also take place during this period

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