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80 minutes | May 17, 2022
A revised EPBD - Faster decarbonisation of the EU's building stock?
Buildings are one of the largest sources of energy consumption as they account for 40% of the EU’s final energy consumption and 36% of its greenhouse gas emissions. Boosting their energy performance and moving to low-carbon forms of energy is crucial as it would reduce emissions, tackle energy poverty, support the economic recovery after the Covid-19 crisis, and create new job opportunities across the EU. The recast of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) is an essential element in completing the objectives of the Fit for 55 package. The new EPBD emphasises the need to modernise the EU building stock by increasing the rate and depth of buildings’ renovations, improving information on energy performance and sustainability of buildings, as well as ensuring that all buildings will be in line with the 2050 climate neutrality requirements. Consequently, the EPBD will also be instrumental to implementing the REPowerEU plan, whose objective is to faster reduce the EU’s dependence on fossil fuels. The electrification of heating and cooling in buildings will play a major role on the road to decarbonisation, as it will facilitate the switch from fossil fuel boilers to more sustainable electric solutions. The EPBD revision also stresses the need to develop e-mobility by implementing recharging points in buildings to support smart charging for electric vehicles. Relisten to this EURACTIV Hybrid Conference to find out what can be done to improve the existing regulatory framework to support an effective decarbonisation process in the building sector. Discussed questions included: - How the EPBD proposal could best contribute to the decarbonisation of the building sector?- What are the technical challenges and solutions to electrifying the EU's building stock?- What renovations in buildings can contribute to sustainable mobility?- How to increase users’ awareness of their housing’s carbon footprint and of the low-carbon solutions that are available?
79 minutes | May 17, 2022
Sustainable and healthy buildings - Reaching the goals of the EU Green Deal
The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) revision plays a central role in the overall Fit For 55 package and is an important contributor to unlocking ambitious environmental, societal and financial benefits. It is also an opportunity to integrate a multiple benefits approach, rather than primarily focusing on energy. To create a sustainable, future-proof and energy-efficient building stock, we need to put people at the centre. Typically, we spend around 90% of our time indoors, so bettering the conditions of our indoor climate – and thus our health and well-being - is an important driver for renovation, alongside improving energy efficiency, mitigating climate change, and reducing the energy bill and dependence. The EPBD proposal goes further than energy performance requirements by introducing carbon emission reduction targets, and putting more emphasis on multiple benefits of energy efficiency, including improving indoor environmental quality and reducing energy poverty. It also introduces new building tools to boost renovation rates, supports the digitalisation of energy systems for buildings, and facilitates more targeted financing to investments in the building sector. How can we best ensure these new, holistic approaches to energy efficiency and the EBPD are properly accounted for and factored into the final directive and the new tools - EPCs, Renovation Passports, MEPs – it proposes? Relisten to this EURACTIV Virtual Conference to find out how the revision of the EPBD can support a healthy indoor climate while accelerating a decrease of energy costs and decarbonising our buildings. Discussed questions included: - What's the current state of buildings in the EU and how can the EPBD help achieve a faster transition towards sustainable and healthy buildings?- What will be the costs and economic/societal benefits of such a building transition?- What data and definitions are we lacking to properly account for the impact of multiple benefits?- How can we ensure energy efficient, decarbonised and healthy buildings?- What lessons has the COVID-19 pandemic taught us when it comes to buildings? How can good ventilation in buildings contribute?
79 minutes | May 10, 2022
Due diligence and responsible sourcing: Can a common approach for all sectors work?
The European Commission has recently adopted a proposal for a Directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence, which aims to foster sustainable and responsible corporate behaviour throughout global value chains. Companies are at the heart of the proposal and they will be required to identify and, where necessary, prevent, end or mitigate adverse impacts of their activities on human rights and on the environment. A number of Member States have already introduced national rules on due diligence and some companies have taken measures at their own initiative. The due diligence regulation is very important for industries, especially the ones that largely depend on the import of critical raw materials, such as battery manufacturing. On 17 March, the European Council adopted a so-called “general approach” to the batteries regulation, following a proposal tabled by the European Commission in December 2020. The regulation aims to set up a circular economy sector by targeting all stages of the life cycle of batteries, including responsible sourcing. The Council and Parliament will now start trilogue negotiations with a view to progressing towards an agreement. Some industry stakeholders argue that policymakers should seek a coherent and consistent approach on sustainability and due diligence throughout EU legislation, as choosing specific approaches for different legislative pieces could lead to inconsistencies and confusion. Moreover, they stress the importance of industry-led schemes aligned with standards recognised by independent third parties, such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and approved by the International Social and Environmental Accreditation and Labelling Alliance (ISEAL Alliance), as they are tailored to the specific characteristics of specific industries. Another point brought forward by the industry is the importance of having realistic time-frames for action. Relisten to this EURACTIV Virtual Conference to find out about responsible sourcing and due diligence. How can companies best develop tools and standards that fit the upcoming European legislation? And how can the European Commission ensure there is a coherent approach for all actors involved?
74 minutes | Apr 29, 2022
Circularity of bottles: Contributing to the EU Green Deal
The EU's Single Use Plastics Directive (SUPD) introduces a 90% collection target for beverage PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles by 2029 and also mandates that they should contain at least 25% recycled plastic by 2025, and 30% by 2030. To meet EU food safety and quality standards, PET bottles must be of food-grade quality. Effective bottle-to-bottle recycling is therefore a prerequisite to ensure that the targets laid down in the EU SUPD are met. However, the versatility of PET bottles brings high demand from a variety of industries. An increasing number of non-food industries are using PET materials in their products. Some analysts claim this leaves the beverage industry with unfair competition and difficulty in delivering EU Green Deal objectives to increase resource efficiency and accelerate the transition to a circular economy. The beverage industry is thus calling on the European Commission to introduce a "right of first refusal mechanism" on recycled PET in the revision of the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD). They argue that such preferential access to recycled PET that the industry puts on the market, and of which it finances the collection, will accelerate its transition to a more circular economy. The industry is also calling on the Commission to adopt minimum requirements for new Deposit Refund Systems (DRS) in the revised PPWD. Deposit Refund Systems are collection schemes whereby consumers pay a small amount of money (a deposit fee) for their packaging at the point of purchase and are reimbursed upon the return of the empty packaging to specific collection points. Relisten to this EURACTIV Virtual Conference to find out what’s the best recipe for meeting circular economy and climate objectives and whether DRS are an efficient way to meet collection and recycling targets for EU natural mineral and spring water producers set in the EU’s Single Use Plastics Directive. Discussed questions included: - Can PET bottles be prevented from being downcycled?- What are the challenges in making Deposit Refund Systems effective?- Can a “right of first refusal mechanism” be delivered in the revision of the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive?- Can beverage manufacturers be given back the same amount of recycled content that they bring on the market?
74 minutes | Apr 28, 2022
The role of food supplements in improving health in the EU
Food supplements are concentrated sources of nutrients (or other substances) with a nutritional or physiological effect. They are typically taken in “dose” form, such as pills, tablets, capsules, liquids in measured doses. The European Commission's Food Supplements Directive of 2002 aims to protect consumers against potential health risks from food supplements products and to ensure that they are not provided with misleading information. It also establishes a core framework for the marketing of supplements in the EU. With respect to the safety of food supplements, the Directive lays down a harmonised list of vitamins and minerals that may be added for nutritional purposes in food supplements. Over the past 20 years, the market in supplements has developed significantly and there has been a much greater recognition by consumers. In addition to the 2002 framework, a wide range of EU food legislation is in place which covers food supplements. This includes additives, contaminants, labelling, hygiene claims. The European Commission is also working on two areas that are not currently harmonised at the EU level: the maximum levels of permitted vitamins and minerals in food supplements, and the use of botanical ingredients. Relisten to this EURACTIV Virtual Conference to find out what a potential policy framework for supplements could look like, given the regulatory environment is broadly in place. Addressed questions included: - How can supplements play a role in helping build more resilient societies and reduce the burden on national health systems?- Since deficiencies in a range of vitamins and minerals still exist in the EU, can supplements help redress this imbalance?- Can food supplements help governments achieve their objective of keeping an ageing EU population healthy and productive?
82 minutes | Apr 28, 2022
Carbon removals - How best to implement and validate?
In December 2021, the European Commission adopted a Communication on Sustainable Carbon Cycles, in which it identifies complementary solutions to CO2 emissions reductions to achieve the EU’s goal of climate neutrality by 2050. Indeed, to maintain the atmospheric concentration of CO2 at levels compatible with the objective of the Paris Agreement, solutions to capture carbon emissions directly from the atmosphere are needed. Some of these solutions include promoting carbon farming practices under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), and standardising the monitoring, reporting and verification methodologies needed to provide a clear and reliable certification framework for carbon farming and carbon removals. There are two types of carbon removal solutions: nature-based and industry-based ones. These involve different levels of maturity and market readiness and have different impacts on the involved stakeholders. Each solution has specific advantages and challenges that need to be addressed, contingent on its accessibility to users and complexity of implementation. However, the challenge of setting a regulatory framework that would foster trust and mobilise potential parties remains. Independent measurement and verification are essential to ensure that carbon removals have been properly conducted and that the carbon is effectively and permanently removed from the atmosphere. Such verification not only ensures the most effective implementation of climate policies, but also helps eliminate false reporting and greenwashing. Relisten to this EURACTIV Virtual Conference to find out how we can ensure the validation of carbon removals in a way that satisfies consumers, industry and policymakers. How can we overcome the ongoing differences in the calculation of emissions and harmonise methodologies? And how can buyers, land managers, technological companies, investors, and policymakers agree on clear and common standards?
77 minutes | Apr 27, 2022
EU ETS: How to mitigate instability?
The price of European Union allowances in the EU Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS) reached an all-time high this winter, with a record high close to 100 €/t of CO2 in February 2022. This surge in allowance price levels and volatility occurs in the context of a crisis in European energy markets, with a sharp increase in commodities prices, and in a context of uncertainty about the scope and the ambition of the ongoing reform of the EU ETS. Last July, the Commission presented a legislative proposal which aims for emissions from the current EU ETS sectors to be reduced by 61% by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. To reach this target, the Commission proposes a steeper annual emissions reduction of 4.2%, following a one-off reduction of the overall emissions cap by 117 million allowances. Under the EU ETS, regulated entities buy or receive emissions allowances, which they can trade with one another as needed. At the end of each year, regulated entities must surrender enough allowances to cover all of their emissions. If a regulated entity reduces its emissions, it can keep the “saved” allowances to cover its future needs or sell them to another installation that is short of allowances. A Market Stability Reserve, in place since 2019, stabilises the market by removing surplus allowances from it. Recent market developments have raised questions regarding speculative trading, whether and to what extent the participation of financial players should be constrained, and if so, what would be the best mechanism to do so. More generally, it has revived the debate on the potential measures to stabilise EU allowances prices as Europe’s ambition to fast track the decarbonisation of its economy requires a strong and predictable carbon price signal. According to industry stakeholders, allowance price instability and lack of predictability could have significant short- and long-term consequences on the EU policy objective of fast-tracking decarbonisation, including higher compliance costs for obligated entities and higher decarbonisation costs. They underline the need for a review and potential regulation on the role of financial trading in the EU ETS market, as well as the need to address some of the structural issues that induce price instability. Relisten to this EURACTIV Virtual Conference to find out about the possible impacts of excessive speculation on the functioning of the EU ETS market. What measures could be taken to mitigate the risk of excessive speculation, and more broadly to stabilise allowances prices and improve the EU ETS market functioning?
74 minutes | Apr 26, 2022
CBAM - How do we ensure that we cut emissions - not move them?
The EU’s proposed carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) was adopted by the European Commission in July 2021 to complement the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). The goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions cost-effectively in line with the Fit for 55 objectives. Products from the following sectors will be impacted: cement, aluminium, fertiliser, electricity, iron and steel. CBAM aims to impose a CO2 charge on products entering the EU so that European industry can play on an equal footing with foreign manufacturers. According to the European Commission, the main objective of CBAM is to counteract the risk of carbon leakage, which will increase due to higher European carbon prices. In the long term, CBAM should gradually replace the free allowances distributed through the EU ETS. The issue of exports recently heated up at the European Council, where Member States agreed on the general approach on CBAM, leaving the exports issue for a later stage. However, several European industries have expressed their concerns that the CBAM only levels the playing field for imports and that no solution has been proposed for exports leaving the EU. They also stress that there is a high risk that EU products would be replaced by more carbon-intensive products, which would be counterproductive. This leads them to call EU decision-makers to include an export mechanism in the CBAM Regulation. Yet, as it stands today, they argue that CBAM would hinder the reach of European industry in global markets. The industry expects the EU to boost sustainable trade globally by facilitating the export of low carbon products. An example of this is the fertiliser sector, where trade flows follow the natural growing season of crops across the world. By providing nutrients for farmers to harvest high quality crops, the fertilizer sector contributes to food security in Europe and globally, while guaranteeing EU’s strategic autonomy.
70 minutes | Mar 30, 2022
Kazakhstan - Building back better following a turbulent January
In January this year, Kazakhstan experienced a series of large protests, sparked by the sudden increase of fuel prices, after the government had removed a previously enforced price cap.The protestors first came out into the streets in the petroleum-producing city of Zhanaozen in western Kazakhstan but then spread rapidly across the country, first to other oil and mineral producing regions and then to other districts of Kazakhstan.Protestors' demands and grievances varied widely. They included oil workers as well as liberal activists in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city. Young people throughout the country also joined in.An array of related challenges were brought forward: inflation, inequality of opportunity, corruption, injustice, lack of benefits, fuel prices, low wages, and lack of labour bargaining power. According to Kazakh officials, peaceful demonstrations were hijacked by violent criminals.Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev reacted by declaring a state of emergency and announced that the Collective Security Treaty Organization will step in to help the Kazakh forces to protect the strategic facilities. He also made radical changes to the country’s national security leadership. Former President Nazarbaev stepped down from the position of the chair of the National Security Council.A few days after the protests swept across some city centres, the government declared that constitutional order had been mainly restored in all regions and promised ambitious economic reforms, aimed at reducing the state's deep involvement in the economy and bridging the gap between the wealthy minority and the majority of the population.Relisten to this EURACTIV Debate to find out about the recent unrest that shook Kazakhstan and the way forward in building back better. Will the recent internal strife prompt real change? How will president Tokayev move forward? How will the demands and needs of protesters be addressed?
75 minutes | Mar 30, 2022
How to develop the heating sector to ensure better air quality?
The European Environment Agency estimates that long-term exposure to poor air quality is responsible for over 400,000 premature deaths in Europe every year. The worst air quality read-outs are reported during winter, when temperatures are very low and there is high demand for heat. In some countries, one of the causes of poor air quality is the employment of old and inefficient coal or wood-burning stoves used in households.Very often, fuels of the poorest quality are used in old stoves. This results in the emission of significant amounts of dangerous substances such as PM2.5, PM10 and various chemical compounds. Moreover, the emissions are released from chimneys that are not very tall and located close to other residential buildings. The volume of these so-called “low-level emissions'' mean that they have a considerable impact on air quality.A practical way to resolve the problem could be replacing old, inefficient household heat sources and encouraging the usage of good-quality fuels. Another solution, which might be even more effective in urbanised areas, is a district heating system that provides clean heat to numerous end users.In its proposal for recasting the EU Directive on Energy Efficiency, the European Commission has put a particular emphasis on district heating and cooling, where the definition of “efficient” systems will gradually be tightened to move away from fossil fuel-based systems. In cogeneration, the aim is to introduce additional criteria for specific emissions in high-efficiency cogeneration (270 gCO2/kWh). District heating will be also influenced by the revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD).Some industry stakeholders have expressed concerns about the new definition of efficiency and they urge the Commission to keep current criteria for the share of high-efficiency cogeneration heat until 2030.Relisten to this EURACTIV Virtual Conference to find out about the link between pollution and district heating systems, and the impact that the proposal for the recast Energy Efficiency Directive plays in this regard.
75 minutes | Mar 22, 2022
What will Europe’s digital economy look like after the Digital Services Act?
The Digital Services Act (DSA) is the most significant update of Europe’s digital rules in over two decades. The European Commission sees the DSA as being a core plank of making Europe fit for the Digital Age. But what does this mean in practice, and does the DSA fit the bill? According to the Commission, the new rules are proportionate, foster innovation, growth and competitiveness, and facilitate the scaling up of smaller platforms, SMEs and start-ups. The responsibilities of users, platforms, and public authorities are rebalanced according to European values, placing citizens at the centre. The Digital Services Act includes rules for online intermediary services, which millions of Europeans use every day. The obligations of different online players match their role, size and impact in the online ecosystem. The EU institutions are now entering the final phase of negotiations following an intense legislative process in the European Parliament which saw a number of new amendments proposed. These amendments covered a wide range of issues that will have significant implications for how we use and interact with online services for years to come. Relisten to this EURACTIV Debate to find out about the DSA and its impact on Europe’s digital economy. Discussed questions included: - What will change for users of online services?- Will online marketplaces continue to function effectively with the proposed KYBC and product requirements?- How will ‘user redress’ work?- What effect will content moderation requirements have on user content?- Can the data protection and data access requirements operate in parallel?- What will digital advertising look like?
94 minutes | Mar 16, 2022
Efficient district heating systems: How to achieve cost-effective decarbonisation?
Last summer, the European Commission published a proposal for recasting the EU Energy Efficiency Directive (EED), aimed at further stimulating EU efforts to promote energy efficiency and progress towards achieving climate neutrality by 2050.Heating and cooling play a significant role in the Union’s ambition to transition to a clean and carbon-neutral economy. In the EED, a particular focus is put on district heating and cooling, where the definition of efficient systems will gradually be tightened to move away from fossil fuel-based systems. In cogeneration, the aim is to introduce additional criteria for specific emissions in high-efficiency cogeneration (270 gCO2/kWh).These proposed measures in the recast EED should be seen alongside the new targets proposed in the revised Renewable Energy proposal for including renewables in heating and cooling (at least 1.1%) and for district heating and cooling (2.1%), which aim to ensure wider use of renewables and waste heat in such systems.The energy industry expressed some concerns for the new definition of "efficient systems" and its impact on district heating systems, especially those based on natural gas high-efficiency cogeneration. They claim that for existing efficient district heating systems, an adequate transition period should be introduced to adapt to the new requirements, in order to avoid these systems from suddenly losing their status.District heating is not the same across the Union, since it largely depends on regional and local conditions and is therefore mostly used in the EU’s coldest countries. During the open public consultation carried out by the European Commission, several energy industry stakeholders expressed their concerns that the current goals of increasing the share of renewables can be seen as a challenge for Member States that have decided to develop heating systems as an effective way of ensuring heat supply while at the same time reducing the emissions of district heat by replacing coal with other fuels like natural gas.Relisten to this EURACTIV Virtual Conference to discuss the new definition of efficient district heating systems in the EED proposal, and how stakeholders can best cooperate to achieve cost-effective decarbonisation.
104 minutes | Mar 14, 2022
Autonomous Vehicles: Full speed ahead towards sustainable and digital mobility?
Relisten to this EURACTIV Virtual Conference to find out how long it will take until autonomous vehicles become the norm, and what is delaying progress. Discussed questions included:- Can the existing infrastructure be adapted to accommodate autonomous vehicles?- What are the most efficient technologies that can be deployed in a sustainable and ethical manner for making autonomous driving an everyday reality?- Is there harmonisation of intelligent transportation systems (ITS) across Europe, such as data standardisation and the extension of digital infrastructure, to ensure a seamless service for road users and to prepare for autonomous vehicles?- Are users aware of, and ready for, the challenges, like roads with mixed driver and driverless traffic?
75 minutes | Feb 24, 2022
Illicit trade in Europe - Scale, Impact, Solutions
Illicit trade is a growing threat in an increasing digital and globalised economy. The World Economic Forum (WEF) estimates that over US$2.2 trillion (3% of global GDP) has been lost due to illicit trade leakages in 2020 alone. Additionally, according to the Transnational Alliance to Combat Illicit Trade, imports of counterfeit and pirated goods are worth nearly $500 billion a year.During the COVID-19 pandemic, illicit activities have increased across different sectors such as pharmaceuticals, tobacco, alcohol, PPE products, home and personal sanitising products, luxury goods, beauty and personal care products. Supply and demand disruptions, restricted travel and international border closures have forced criminals to adapt their networks. One of the most noticeable changes has been the shift to an online environment. In fact, law enforcement officials have reported that EU e-commerce has been a predominant medium to send fraudulent COVID-related products. But illicit trade has been a big concern for industry even before the start of the pandemic.Over the past 20 years, there has been a criminal transformation driven by geopolitical, economic and technological shifts, that has seriously challenged certain industries. Illicit trade typically affects legitimate businesses in terms of lost market share, slower growth, damage to business infrastructure, reputational harm, rising supply chain compliance, security and insurance costs. Many stakeholders believe there is no simple solution and that illicit trade must be targeted from multiple angles. These include developing better legal and policy frameworks, tightening supply chains, improving enforcement at the border, and consumer awareness. Targeting consumer awareness is deemed increasingly important, as through good educational campaigns, people can make more informed and responsible choices.Relisten to this EURACTIV debate to find out about the impact of illicit trade on society and economy. What are the threats they face? How can information-sharing mechanisms be strengthened? And how can government and industry work together to combat illegal trade?
76 minutes | Feb 22, 2022
(Re)constructing Europe: What challenges are Member States facing?
The EU's post-pandemic Green Recovery is laying the foundations for a new understanding of buildings and construction processes. The needs of people and systems are being reconsidered, while new implications of construction work are taken into consideration, such as energy production and efficiency, recycling of materials and sourcing of raw materials, transportation of tools and materials.Buildings are responsible for about 40% of the EU's energy consumption, and 36% of greenhouse gas emissions from energy. But only 1% of buildings undergo energy efficient renovation every year.The Commission aims to at least double building renovation rates in the next ten years and make sure renovations lead to higher energy and resource efficiency. This will enhance the quality of life for people living in and using the buildings, reduce Europe's greenhouse gas emissions, foster digitalisation, and improve the reuse and recycling of materials. By 2030, 35 million buildings could be renovated and up to 160,000 additional green jobs created in the construction sector.A carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM), announced in the European Green Deal, will also serve as an essential element of the EU toolbox to meet the objective of a climate-neutral EU by 2050. The CBAM will equalise the price of carbon between domestic products and imports and encourage producers in non-EU countries to green their production processes. It will initially apply only to a selected number of goods at high risk of carbon leakage: iron and steel, cement, fertiliser, aluminium, and electricity generation.Given the scale of emissions produced by the construction sector, cleaning it up will be a challenge for EU policymakers and Member States, particularly when addressing entire global supply chains.Relisten to this EURACTIV Virtual Conference to find out about the new economic and environmental challenges for the construction sector, particularly for South-Eastern Europe. Discussed questions include:- What will be the new implications faced during, before and after construction - from conceptualising, planning, designing, constructing and maintaining?- How can the global supply chain crisis be navigated by South-Eastern Member States?- What role can the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility play?- What are the implications of higher construction materials and energy prices?- Would there be an increased demand for recycled (secondary) construction materials and products? And, is there a lack of adequate recycling facilities?- What form can the 'renovation wave' take in less economically advanced Member States, and what will the costs be for the construction sector?- How to make construction a cornerstone of CBAM?
91 minutes | Feb 14, 2022
Sustainable agriculture transformation agenda for Africa - Empowering farmers and building food security sustainably
Agriculture is one of the key focus areas of the partnership between the EU and the African Union (AU), with the EU’s focus being on facilitating a green transition in line with its Green Deal ambitions. By working together to boost safe and sustainable agri-food systems, the AU and the EU can address the challenges of nutrition and food security, environmental concerns, and economic growth.From February 17-18 at the EU-Africa Union Summit, African and European Heads of State and Government will meet to determine joint priorities for their common future. The Summit is due to include an exchange of views on common areas of cooperation in a renewed Africa-EU Partnership. The partnership agreement is expected to cover agriculture, a key sector in Africa with a large social and economic footprint.Some stakeholders argue that future agri-food partnerships between the EU and Africa, while enabling a sustainable transformation, must also be adapted to the realities of farming in Africa. Such realities include, among others: unrealised yield and the yield potential of farms; the ambition to end hunger; agriculture is predominantly smallholder led; it is more affected by climate change, disease and pests pressure not present in Europe; low technology access and use; and low investment despite governmental commitments made in the 2014 Malabo commitments. They also highlight the ongoing challenge of illicit products circulating in the market.The partnership is also being agreed against a backdrop of the newly established and evolving African Continental Free Trade Area that created the largest free trade areas in the world, measured by number of countries participating.Listen to this EURACTIV Virtual Conference to discuss how Africa can transition sustainably towards greener agriculture. Questions to be discussed include:- How can the global sustainability agenda be effectively localised? What do the localisation agendas look like for Europe and Africa respectively?- What laws, partnerships and investments are needed to unlock a sustainable transformation that empowers smallholder farmers, builds food security and contributes to livelihoods?- How can we unlock the potential of sustainable technologies?
78 minutes | Feb 11, 2022
Quelle place pour le secteur agricole dans le plan de relance européen ?
En réponse aux conséquences économiques et sociales de la pandémie, les Etats membres de l'Union européenne ont adopté un plan de relance historique baptisé « NextGenerationEU ». Avec une enveloppe d'environ 750 milliards d'euros, cet accord a pour objectif principal le financement du pacte vert pour l'Europe et la transition numérique. La crise sanitaire a rappelé l'importance de la souveraineté alimentaire ainsi que la nécessité de renforcer la transition agroécologique sur le continent européen. Une partie conséquente du plan de relance sera allouée au secteur agricole, majoritairement par le biais la PAC, dont la France est la première bénéficiaire. Selon l’INRAE (Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement), les aides directes de la PAC auraient financé 74% du revenu des agriculteurs en 2019 en France. L'agriculture durable est également un point essentiel de la réforme de la PAC qui entrera en vigueur en 2023. Après de longues négociations au Parlement européen, les avis restent partagés concernant les ambitions de l'accord sur le plan environnemental. La France doit désormais soumettre son Plan stratégique national (PSN) qui sera présenté à la Commission et fixera les priorités du gouvernement quant à la mise en œuvre du nouvel accord sur le territoire. L'élaboration du PSN est un réel enjeu pour la France car la nouvelle réforme de la PAC octroie une marge décisionnelle plus importante aux Etats membres de l'Union. Ecoutez cette conférence virtuelle organisée par EURACTIV. Les questions abordées sont les suivantes :- Comment la France utilise-t-elle concrètement les ressources financières mises à sa disposition au niveau national et régional ?- Comment le gouvernement français soutient-il la transition agroécologique ?- Comment contrôle-t-on la mise en œuvre des initiatives durables par les agriculteurs ?- Quelles solutions innovantes sont utilisées pour maintenir ces objectifs ?
80 minutes | Feb 9, 2022
Green steel: CBAM and ETS - do their current designs aid EU climate ambitions?
In July 2021, the European Commission adopted a Proposal for establishing a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM). The aim of the proposal is to require importers to buy carbon certificates corresponding to the carbon price that would have been paid had the goods been produced under the EU's carbon pricing rules. Conversely, once a non-EU producer can show they have already paid a price for the carbon used in the production of the imported goods in a third country, the corresponding cost can be fully deducted for the EU importer. The CBAM is intended to complement the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) and level the playing field between EU and non-EU businesses. The EU ETS, which sets a cap on the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that can be released from industrial installations in certain sectors, works through a system of allowances that must be bought on the ETS trading market, though a certain number of free allowances is distributed to prevent carbon leakage. The CBAM will progressively become an alternative to this. Moreover, in the Commission's new proposal for a revised ETS, the number of free allowances for all sectors will decline over time, and for the CBAM sectors, the free allowances will gradually be phased out as from 2026.An industry particularly susceptible to these mechanisms is that of steel, which has set out the ambition to reduce its CO2 emissions by 30% by 2030 compared to 2018 (= 55% compared to 1990). Currently, there are more than 50 steel projects that could be implemented at industrial scale by 2030 in order to achieve this ambitious objective. The estimated costs are 25 billion EUR Capex and 45 billion EUR Opex, plus 150 TWh of carbon-free electricity needed, including for hydrogen production, by 2030. The EU steel industry states it is willing to invest in order to implement these and other projects, with the support of EU and national programmes and EU legislation that allows a sustainable transition.Stakeholders from the industry have expressed some concerns about the CBAM and ETS. They claim that the additional direct carbon costs for the steel industry with the combined effect of CBAM and ETS on the free allowances phase-out will be of nearly 14 billion euros in 2030 with ‘business as usual’ emissions, or 8,4 billion euros if the sector is able to reduce its emissions by 30% by 2030. Industry also claims that in 2030, an average EU steel company retrofitting its plant with clean technology will face 400 million euros carbon costs, while a similar non-EU company exporting its steel into the EU market will bear only 30 million euros of costs, despite the CBAM levy at the border.Relisten to this EURACTIV Virtual Conference to find out about the impact of the CBAM and ETS mechanisms on the steel industry. Discussed questions included: - Is the Fit for 55 Package also “fit” to ensure a level playing field between EU steelmakers and non EU-steelmakers?- In light of the current energy and carbon prices spikes, how can the phasing out of free allowances be implemented in a sustainable way?- Can the CBAM coexist with the current system of free allowances? - Why should we need export adjustments and to what extent are they compliant with WTO requirements?- Investments in breakthrough technologies and affordable CO2-free energy are key for scaling up low-carbon steel projects already in progress. How can those needs be met, while creating lead markets for the greener but also more expensive EU steel?
86 minutes | Feb 4, 2022
Ensuring the effective integration of hydrogen within the EU's energy system
In December 2021, the European Commission published the Hydrogen and Decarbonised Gas Market Package with the aim to decarbonise the EU gas market by facilitating the uptake of renewable and low-carbon gases, including hydrogen, and to ensure energy security for EU citizens.One of the main aims of the new legislative proposals is to establish a market for hydrogen, create the right environment for investment, and enable the development of dedicated infrastructure, including for trade with third countries.A new governance structure in the form of the European Network of Network Operators for Hydrogen (ENNOH) will be created to promote a dedicated hydrogen infrastructure, cross-border coordination and interconnector network construction, and elaborate on specific technical rules.The new legislative proposals follow from the strategic vision set out in the EU Strategy for Energy System Integration, the EU Hydrogen Strategy and the EU Methane Strategy.Listen to this EURACTIV Virtual Conference to find out the EU's shift from natural gas to renewable and low-carbon gases, including hydrogen. Questions included:-Will the new legislative proposals be enough to decarbonise Europe’s gas supply, and help the EU reach its 2030 and 2050 targets?-How can the EU ensure effective integration of hydrogen within its energy system?
85 minutes | Feb 3, 2022
EU Methane Regulation: How can policymakers raise ambition?
Over the last century, the amount of methane in the atmosphere has more than doubled. A rapid, large-scale effort to tackle its emissions could slow global warming by 30%. Last year, the EU played a major role in launching the Global Methane Pledge signed by over 100 countries representing 70% of the global economy committing to reduce methane emissions this decade. Up until now, little has been done in Europe on the regulatory front to reduce methane emissions from oil and gas. But the European Commission is to change that by finalising a regulation aimed at cutting down methane emissions as part of a gas package of legislation published on 15 December. As the world’s largest gas importer, with 85% of the bloc’s natural gas produced outside its borders, the EU’s plan to crack down on methane emissions is crucial. The European Commission’s methane proposal has been criticised by some industry and climate stakeholders for not going far enough in dealing with extraterritorial emissions. Attention now turns to the European Parliament and Member States to set the tone of the negotiations in the coming months to ensure the EU methane legislation achieves deep greenhouse gas reductions. Listen to this EURACTIV Virtual Conference to find out how the EU can tackle energy sector methane emissions and reach its 2030 climate targets and the 2050 climate neutrality goal. Questions included:– Are the proposed methane measurement, monitoring and mitigation requirements enough to address Europe’s methane problem?– How can the EU lead the way on reducing methane emissions at a global level?
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