Environment

EEA: 2011 greenhouse emissions down 2.5 %

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According to estimations made by the European Environmental Agency (EEA), the EU's total 2011 greenhouse gas emissions fell by 2.5 %, despite higher coal consumption and a growing gross domestic product (GDP). In addition, the...

Asia-Pacific agreement on ‘green’ technology

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A new step forward on clean technology has been took. The group Asia-Pacific nations had decided to promote “green” technologies and, according to a senior US official, the American country is also urging them...

Human right to water to be first EU Citizens Initiative?

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 Are all Europeans guaranteed the right to drinking water?  According to the organisers of this European Citizens Initiative action more needs to be done and universal 100 percent coverage within Europe is still lacking. "Europe...

Netherlands wants new rules for energy exploitation in Arctic

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The Netherlands wants to see international rules introduced for energy exploitation in the Arctic to prevent environmental damage, said Maxime Verhagen, Minister of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation in a speech at the international...

Dutch greenhouse gas emissions fall 6.5% in 2011

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Greenhouse gas emissions in the Netherlands were more than 6.5% lower in 2011 than in 2010. This was caused by a decrease in energy consumption of nearly 7%. Emissions of greenhouse gases were 8%...

Denmark: Vestas in talks with Mitsubishi

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Shares in Vestas Wind Systems AS surged 19% on 29 August, after the world’s largest wind-turbine maker confirmed it’s in talks with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd over a strategic pact, it was reported. The Denmark-based...

ETS link-up possible on a ‘world wide scale’

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The European Commission and Australia have announced a link up between their emissions trading systems, in a commitment to cut the amount of carbon pollution and increase liquidity in the market.   Initially the plan...

Australia, EU link emissions trading systems

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The European Union and Australia have reached agreement on linking their emissions trading systems Under an interim agreement, Australian businesses will be able to use EU allowances to help meet liabilities under the Australian emissions...

Greenpeace Stunt Won’t Stop Putin’s Arctic Plans

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On 24 August, six Greenpeace activists stormed Russian gas monopoly Gazprom’s floating oil platform and erected climbing tents on the side of the rig to protest drilling in the Arctic. The group of international...

Like water for climate

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MALMÖ – “Everyone knows” that you should drink eight glasses of water a day. After all, this is the advice of a multitude of health writers, not to mention authorities like Britain’s National Health...

EU: New rules on ‘electronic waste’

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As people use more and more electronic gadgets and business increasingly computerises their operations, the European Commission has stepped in to update rules on disposing of electronic waste. Systematic collection and proper treatment is...

Ban Ki-moon launches new UN initiative to protect oceans

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The UN chief announced a new project to protect oceans from pollution and over-fishing and to combat rising sea levels which threaten hundreds of millions of the world's people. The initiative, called “Oceans Compact”, wants...

Our Summer of climate truth

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NEW YORK – For years, climate scientists have been warning the world that the heavy use of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) threatens the world with human-induced climate change. The rising atmospheric...

Commission proposes changes to auctions of emission allowances

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The European Commission proposed on 25 July a decision to clarify the provisions of the European Union’s Emissions Trading Systems (ETS) Directive. The provisions focus on the timing of auctions of emission allowances and...

Commission to co-finance 202 environmental projects

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The European Commission approved on 20 July funding for 202 new projects under the LIFE+ environment programme, to cover activities in the fields of nature conservation, environmental policy, climate change and information and communication...

Biocides regulation to help health, environment and economy

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New rules on biocides entered into force on 17 July, bringing a significant boost to the protection of health and the environment. Though necessary for the control of organisms harmful to human or animal...

Anonymous hacks five oil companies

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The hacking group Anonymous has published about 1,000 email addresses and unencrypted passwords for accounts belonging to the top oil firms Shell, Exxon, BP, and the Russian Gazprom and Rosneft. The hacks can be considered...

Green domestic product?

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SANTIAGO – One of the recurrent themes at the United Nations’ spectacularly unsuccessful Rio+20 summit in June was the need to change how we measure wealth. Many argue that we must abandon our “obsession”...

Rio+20 – what worked well

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Last month was marked by the Rio+20 global summit on sustainable development. At the EESC we were committed to contributing to the EU’s position and to mobilising EU civil society in order to push...

EU to enhance its policy in the Arctic region

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The Commission outlined the way forward for the European Union's engagement in the Arctic on 3 July, saying that the Arctic region plays important role in the Earth's environment. The Commission based the strategy on...

Face the truth: Europe’s biofuels bonanza causes hunger in Africa

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For the past few years, a project called “One City, One Book” has been running in my native Dublin. It’s a simple concept: during the month of April everyone is encouraged to read the...

Rio: BRICs proved decisive

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Connie Hedegaard, the EU’s Environment Commissioner, has decried the outcome of the Rio+20 UN conference that just concluded in Brazil as something no one was happy with. That is a pity. The outcome does a...

Hedegaard: It is already time for EU 2030

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The European Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard, said during an event organized at the Mission of Norway to the European Union that Europe 2020, the current EU strategy for growth, that ‘is already...

A Rio report card

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NEW YORK – One of the world’s pre-eminent scientific publications, Nature, has just issued a scathing report card in advance of next week’s Rio+20 summit on sustainable development. The grades for implementation of the...

EU leaders host Sustainable Energy Week

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Thousands of people across Europe will gather in Brussels on 19 June until 22 June to discuss energy efficiency and renewables at the European Union's Sustainable Energy Week. The conference will hold the first...

Wrongheaded in Rio

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COPENHAGEN – Tens of thousands of people will soon gather in Rio de Janeiro for the United Nations Earth Summit. The participants, ranging from weary politicians to enthusiastic campaigners, are supposed to reignite global...

Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for Environment, goals for Rio+20

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During next weeks UN summit on sustainable development, the European Union is willing  to engage in negotiations with a view of achieving sustainable development goals. The  two themes for Rio+20,  which will take place...

A global movement for change

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Next week, world leaders gather for a momentous occasion — the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro. Will it be a success? In my opinion, yes. To be sure, the...

China threatens retaliation against EU’s carbon emissions tax

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In the latest arguments over the European Union’s unpopular carbon emission tax, China threatened on 12 June to impound European planes if their own planes are seized. On 1 January, the EU began charging a...

How effective can the EU be at Rio+20?

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With a major share of the world’s population living in poverty, increasing environmental degradation and over-consumption of natural resources, we are a long way from a sustainable world. Today the EESC marked World Environment Day...

Potocnik warns of RIO+20 failure

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European Commissioner for Environment, Janez Potočnik, expressed his disappointment with the lack of progress achieved during the additional negotiations on the Rio +20 agenda in New York. Nevertheless, he pledged that the EU will...

Answer to EU’s energy problem is the…Swiss Alps?

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Many European countries are turning away from atomic power to focus on renewable energies.  While many of them are investing into research and development for developing technologies, some people have looked to Switzerland’s water...

EU Green Week: Commission promotes Generation Awake movement

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During EU Green Week, which was held between 22-25 May, the European Commission showcased its awareness campaign on resource efficiency called Generation Awake, which was officially launched in October 2011. It was developed by...

EU Green Week: Natural, organic cosmetics and water usage

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There is a vast array of cosmetic products at our disposal. Why does the natural versus synthetic debate matter? Our personal health and well-being, as well as our environment locally and globally, are in...

EU Green Week: Rio+20 in the water pipeline

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The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) is being organised in pursuance of General Assembly Resolution 64/236, and will take place in Brazil on 20-22 June 2012 to mark the 20th anniversary of...

EU Green Week: Adaptation to climate change with a link to water

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The Earth's climate has changed throughout history. Just in the last 650,000 years there have been seven cycles of glacial advance and retreat, with the abrupt end of the last ice age about 7,000...

World Turtle day

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Little did you know, but today, 23 May, is the World Turtle Day, established in 2000 by American Tortoise Rescue NGO to bring attention to, and increase knowledge of and respect for, turtles and...