Environment

Commission clears Austrian green-energy law

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The European Commission has found an Austrian scheme to support the production of energy from renewable sources in line with EU state-aid rules, in particular because it creates incentives for an increased use of...

Green jobs ‘better for EU environment and budget’

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By funding environmental programmes, the European Union can create more jobs at a lower cost, according to a new  WWF report by an alliance of environmental non-governmental organisations. The report found that by giving money...

China’s aviation authority fights back against EU ETS

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The battle against the European Commission's decision to include airlines in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) has taken another turn. The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) decided to ban the nation's airlines...

Sustainable humanity

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ADDIS ABABA – Sustainable development means achieving economic growth that is widely shared and that protects the earth’s vital resources. Our current global economy, however, is not sustainable, with more than one billion people left...

EU vows to strengthen its energy bargaining position

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On 24 January, Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger stressed the importance of ensuring reliable energy supplies at affordable prices, saying that "member states will achieve more by working together". Creating legal certainty for all investors is...

‘Fuels of the Future’

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On the occasion of the annual Fuels of the Future conference (Berlin, 23-24 January) representatives from the European biofuels industry gathered in Berlin, Germany. The principal organisers of the two-day conference were the German Bioenergy...

Greece and Cyprus in breach of EU landfill legislation

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The European Commission is urging Greece and Cyprus to comply with the requirements of EU landfill legislation in Cyprus and on the Greek islands of Zakynthos and Corfu. According to the Commission, landfills operating...

Commission opens consultation on greener maritime transport

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On 19 January, the European Commission launched an online public consultation on possible measures to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from ships, which will last until 12 April. As a part of the EU 20/20/20 strategy, the...

EU green energy ‘to withstand economic crisis’

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The Danish prime minister has said that her government's EU Presidency will not let the economic crisis stop Europe from maintaining its position of leadership on green technologies. Responding to a question from New Europe...

Rio +20: We need more flesh on the bones

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The ‘zero draft’ summarising key issues forming the basis of the Rio +20 final agreement is a good starting point for subsequent negotiations. But it still falls far short of the hopes and ambitions of...

Shangri-La chain shark-fin decision is very welcome

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The Hong Kong-based Luxury hotel chain Shangri-La has announced that it will stop serving shark fin at its 72 properties worldwide. The announcement came two months after another Hong Kong-based Peninsula Hotels group said it...

Commission urges improved waste legislation to increase jobs and lower costs

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Full implementation of EU waste legislation would save €72 billion per year, increase the annual turnover of the EU waste management and recycling sector by €42bn and create over 400,000 jobs by 2020, according...

Why development aid is not enough

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OSLO – Poverty is not only about not having enough money. It is also about exploitation and oppression, and about armed conflicts and wars that make it impossible to run a business, visit the...

WWF warns of severe environment damage from government bail-outs

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On 6 January, the WWF sent letters to International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, stressing the urgent need for sustainable solutions to the ongoing global financial...

Trans-Anatolia, Nabucco and South Stream pipelines bet on Turkey

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Competition in the so-called Southern Gas Corridor from the Caspian Sea basin to Europe is heating up. In December, Turkey and Azerbaijan signed an agreement to build a pipeline to carry natural gas to...

How sustainable can we get this year?

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It has always been my belief that Europe is and should continue to be a driver and leader in sustainability reform at global level. It proved this once again in Durban several weeks ago when...

The emperor’s new climate-change agreement

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COPENHAGEN – Dressing up failure as victory has been integral to climate-change negotiations since they started 20 years ago. The latest round of talks in Durban, South Africa, in December was no exception. Climate negotiations...

Rio +20

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In the beautiful city of Rio de Janeiro in June 2012, the Global Meeting for the Sustainability, a formal United Nations project that intends to develop a strategic agenda towards world sustainability will be...

EU-ETS finally takes to skies in 2012

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As 2011 slowly winds down, taking a back seat to the new year to come, a long battle that begun in 2009, will surely rage on in 2012. Back in 2009, the EU decided...

Hungarian EU Presidency to Durban [INTERVIEW]

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Following the UN climate change talks in Durban, I was left with a sense of hope yet also one of trepidation.  Yes, an agreement was concluded, but there was no legally binding document that...

‘A non-binding, non-legal Durban washout’ [INTERVIEW]

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New Europe: How did you enjoy your time in Durban? Oreste Rossi: At first it was an important experience, because you could meet many delegations that you would hardly ever meet in other ....

MEPs strive towards 2020 targets

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On 20 December, the Environment Committee of the European Parliament decided that Emissions Trading System (ETS) credits should be taken out of the next phase of trading to help lift sinking carbon prices The opinion...

Opportunity for the future: A European industrial disaster risk-sharing facility

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In the light of the devastating effects they can exert, industrial disasters have become a major concern for European citizens and political leaders alike. There is no reason to be surprised by this development; it...

Commission launches eco-innovation plan

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The European Commission has launched a new action plan to improve the prospects of eco-friendly business models in the EU. The new Eco-Innovation Action Plan (EcoAP) aims to boost green and sustainable businesses, create more...

Energy Road Map 2050 focuses on carbon-free energy

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To achieve the goal of cutting emissions by over 80% by 2050, Europe's energy production will have to be almost carbon-free. How to achieve this without disrupting energy supplies and competitiveness is the question...

‘And the Green Capital Award goes to’…Vitoria-Gasteiz

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The European Commission has presented the title of European Green Capital to Vitoria-Gasteiz for 2012 for its committment to making the city environmentally friendly and gaining international recognition. The Commission handed over the title of...

Hedegaard to help draft sustainable development strategy

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Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard is visiting New York 13-14 December for the final meeting of the High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability, which has been mandated to formulate a global blueprint for sustainable growth...

Report reveals waste-water treatment still needs improvement

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The latest report on implementation of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (UWWT), for the period 2007/2008, shows that work is progressing well but that collection and treatment compliance rates could still improve. Between...

The climate extremists

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COPENHAGEN – Extreme weather is often said to be one of the main reasons for taking firm action on global warming. Nowadays, no hurricane or heat wave passes without a politician or activist claiming...

China and Japan slam Canada’s withdrawal from Kyoto Protocol [Update]

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On 12 December, Canada became the first country to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol. This decision was brought upon by predominantly financial decisions, since this reversal will end up saving it around $14 billion...

LIFE for our environment

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On 12 December, the European Commission proposed to allocate €3.2 billion over the 2014-2020 period to a new Programme for the Environment and Climate Action – LIFE – aiming to build on the success...

EU reaps rewards from playing hardball in Durban

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'The time for action is now. It's never too late to do something," as Antoine de Saint-Expury. once said. This could not be more true than when the EU tried to convey this message...

EU hoping for pot of gold at end of Durban rainbow

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As the annual summit of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) started its scheduled final day in Durban, Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said that there were two sticking points with India –...

EIB to finance desalination plant in Israel

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The European Investment Bank (EIB) has announced the signing of a €120 million finance contract relating to the design and construction of a seawater desalination plant using reverse osmosis technology in Ashdod, Israel. The contract...

EU taps into China’s energy market

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The EU has shown that no nation can avoid the economic downturn, albeit some countries have been hit harder than others. The pace of investment growth for the EU has been hindered by the...

European Parliament to be represented in Durban

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A delegation of the European Parliament consisting of 15 members is to participate at the UN climate summit in Durban, South Africa. Chairman of the Delegation and prominent German MEP Jo Leinen reiterated the...

Member states ‘still not leading way’ on climate change

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In the new edition of the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI), released by Germanwatch and CAN-Europe in Durban at the UN climate talks, member states are still falling considerably short when it comes to...