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Protesting against air pollution from coal plants and for stricter rules on emissions © WWF / Lode SaidaneEurope's most polluting power plants, including many large coal-fired power stations, will be forced to clean up or close down thanks to new EU rules adopted today. The revised standards demand reductions in toxic emissions, yet businesses and governments appear unprepared.

EU-wide compliance with the new rules could cost as much as €15.4bn, and 82% of coal capacity expected to be online in 2021 is currently failing to meet the minimum standards. With coal already in dramatic decline, the uncertainty created by stricter limits on pollution leaves closure as the only logical end for coal plants. [1]

The new standards [2] include tighter rules for emissions of nitrous oxides (NOx), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and tiny pieces of harmful dust known as 'particulate matter' (PM). These toxic substances are linked to a host of health and environmental issues including the development of asthma in children and polluting of Europe's air and water.

132 cities in 23 countries are breaching EU laws on air quality. [3] Worsening urban air pollution has been described as a 'public health crisis' and has led to growing demands from communities for urgent action.  Ensuring large power plants use the best available techniques to reduce pollution will lead to significant reductions in emissions and have a positive effect on air quality across Europe, including in cities.

The new rules were adopted despite the opposition of major coal-addicted economies. At the time of the vote in April, Germany was heavily criticised by health, environmental and climate groups for joining a 'toxic bloc' of eastern European countries in opposing the new limits. [4]

Today's move provides a safety net of minimum expectations for Europe's worst polluters, but more importantly it signals that the end for coal in Europe is looming. EU governments now have a maximum of four years to adapt their energy systems to the new limits and ensure workers and communities facing an uncertain economic future are empowered to transition to new livelihoods.

Quotes:

Darek Urbaniak, Senior Energy Policy Officer, WWF European Policy Office:

"This is a big step towards a zero coal Europe - towards safer air and lower carbon emissions. EU Member States must get straight to work to put these new rules into practise, and bring the dirtiest coal plants off line completely."

Christian Schaible, EEB Industrial Production Manager and a member of the Technical Working Group that helped to draft the revised standards:

"These new requirements will help speed up the energy transition, but not all plants will have the will, the financing, or even the access to the equipment needed to reduce pollution levels. Investments in plants that are already essentially on life support in order to meet climate commitments simply doesn't make sense. Plants that commit to close could, under strict conditions and in exchange for reduced operation, be granted exceptions in the short-term, but Europe will have to have phased out coal completely by 2030."

Dave Jones, Energy Analyst at Sandbag:

"It's important to note that these new limits are only a safety net for the worst polluters.  The technical paper proves what is possible using the very "best available techniques".  We hope that governments are motivated to seriously tackle pollution, which would mean going beyond the minimum requirements. This should be done as soon as possible rather than waiting until 2021."

Julia Gogolewska, Senior Policy Officer at the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL):

"Thousands of premature deaths from coal pollution can be avoided if these rules are applied, but while they hasten the inevitable, phasing out coal entirely is the only way to maximise the lives saved from air pollution and climate impacts."

Prof Barbara Hoffmann, incoming Chair of the Environment and Health Committee of the European Respiratory Society:

"Introducing and fully enforcing Best Available Techniques standards through the EU's Industrial Emissions Directive offers a clear means of protecting our health and reducing the level of harmful pollutants and gases in the atmosphere. Applying these standards will also contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change."

Joanna Flisowska, Coal Policy Coordinator at Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe:

"The adoption of new air pollution limits for power plants is a key first step to protect the health of citizens and the environment. However, to honour the Paris Agreement commitments, the EU must ensure coal companies don't get a free ride. Dirty plants must be closed as soon as possible and coal workers and communities must be protected during the inevitable transition to clean renewable energy."

Notes to editors:

The new standards are set in the BAT (Best Available Techniques) Conclusions of the revised LCP BREF (Large Combustion Plants Best Available Techniques Reference Document) that was adopted today and will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union shortly.

The potential for the new standards to reduce the negative health impacts of coal in Europe were revealed in a joint report published last October: 'Lifting Europe's Dark Cloud: How cutting coal saves lives'.

Check the potential impact of the new limits on coal plants in your country.

The new standards may seem much stricter, but are in fact based on what is already being achieved by other plants across Europe and around the world. Many European plants are responsible for excessive pollution because they have not been required to invest in 'abatement' techniques to reduce their emissions.

For more information about the LCP BREF, see Our Q&A guide: What is the LCP BREF?

References:

[1] Report on Hard Coal/Lignite Fired Power Plants in EU28 by DNV GL for the European Climate Foundation. 16 June 2017.
[2] Commission to review permits of Large Combustion Plants, European Commission Press Release, 31 July 2017
[3] Commission warns Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom of continued air pollution breaches, European Commission Press Release, 15 Feb 2017
[4] Cleaner air the winner after Germany fails to block new EU rules, EEB Press Release, 28 Apr 2017

For further information, please contact:

Sarah Azau
Senior Communications Officer,
WWF European Policy Office
Tel: +32 473 57 31 37.
Email: sazau@wwf.eu

 
Posted: July 31, 2017, 12:00 am
G20 2017 Presidency logo © G20 2017  PresidencyHamburg, GERMANY (17 July 2017) – As the G20 Leaders' Summit concludes, WWF urges the world's leading industrialized and emerging economies to deliver on their commitment toward ensuring sustainability and resilience for all. The ambition shared in the Leaders' Communiqué released today must be accompanied by concrete actions by G20 countries and governments to bend the curve of accelerating climate change, staggering biodiversity loss and unsustainable use of the planet's natural resources.
 
Today, unprecedented environmental pollution, climate change impacts, biodiversity declines, land degradation and water scarcity are pushing the planet to a tipping point. Collective action on issues such as Green Finance, climate policy, marine pollution and wildlife crime, as outlined in the final G20 declaration, is urgently needed to help prevent irreversible damage to global societies and economies and ensure stability and security in the world's most vulnerable regions.
 
Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF's global Climate & Energy Practice, said: "By accelerating progress under both the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the G20 group of nations can help move the sustainability agenda forward. Acknowledging the irreversible momentum set forth by the Paris climate deal, leaders have shown their determination to join countries and non-State actors worldwide in creating a global socio-economic transformation that will shape our national economies, people's well-being and prosperity for years to come.''
 
At the Summit, all G20 members, except the US, committed to ensuring full and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement, through cooperation on enhanced delivery of national climate contributions, delivering long-term plans by 2020 and with independent monitoring of the shifting of financial flows. Their pledge comes just weeks after US president Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the global climate agreement approved in December 2015.
 
"Implementing the Paris Agreement is in the interest of each nation. Effective climate strategies can help unlock new business and employment opportunities, renewable energy, health benefits, and a sustainable future for all. As G20 leaders join cities, companies and individuals around the globe in committing toward a climate-safe future, it must be crystal clear that there is no place for fossil fuels in this scenario. We can be stronger together for climate but we need to translate ambition into action now," said Pulgar-Vidal.
 
In addition to climate change, leaders at the G20 summit also discussed opportunities and challenges linked to Green Finance and its role in shifting financial flows worldwide toward greater sustainability by taking climate and environmental risks into account.
 
The forum also looked at the important link between wildlife crime and corruption for the first time, with a G20 Action Plan specifically highlighting the profound economic, social, cultural, and environmental impacts of illegal wildlife trade.
 
Margaret Kinnaird, leader of WWF's global Wildlife Practice, said: "Wildlife crime not only threatens our planet's incredible wildlife but it is also harming the lives, livelihoods and human rights of local communities who have depended on their surrounding resources and ecosystems for centuries. We urge Argentina as the next G20 president to build on the legacy of Germany's outgoing presidency and make wildlife crime a priority to help stave off global biodiversity loss and promote sustainable use of natural resources."
 
Moving forward, WWF also urges the upcoming Presidency to continue the group's focus on marine pollution, calling for the definition of timeframes and responsibilities under the Action Plan on Marine Litter and concrete measures such as the development, funding and knowledge-sharing of national legal frameworks facilitating better integrated waste management systems through extended producer responsibility and sustainable financing.
 
On 1 December 2017, Argentina will take over the G20 Presidency and organize the G20 summit in 2018. It will be the second G20 summit to be held in Latin America.

For further information, contact Mandy Jean Woods mwoods@wwfint.org or Rucha Nawara rnawara@wwfint.org. 
Posted: July 8, 2017, 12:00 am
G20 2017 Presidency logo © G20 2017  PresidencyHamburg, GERMANY (17 July 2017) – As the G20 Leaders' Summit concludes, WWF urges the world's leading industrialized and emerging economies to deliver on their commitment toward ensuring sustainability and resilience for all. The ambition shared in the Leaders' Communiqué released today must be accompanied by concrete actions by G20 countries and governments to bend the curve of accelerating climate change, staggering biodiversity loss and unsustainable use of the planet's natural resources.
 
Today, unprecedented environmental pollution, climate change impacts, biodiversity declines, land degradation and water scarcity are pushing the planet to a tipping point. Collective action on issues such as Green Finance, climate policy, marine pollution and wildlife crime, as outlined in the final G20 declaration, is urgently needed to help prevent irreversible damage to global societies and economies and ensure stability and security in the world's most vulnerable regions.
 
Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF's global Climate & Energy Practice, said: "By accelerating progress under both the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the G20 group of nations can help move the sustainability agenda forward. Acknowledging the irreversible momentum set forth by the Paris climate deal, leaders have shown their determination to join countries and non-State actors worldwide in creating a global socio-economic transformation that will shape our national economies, people's well-being and prosperity for years to come.''
 
At the Summit, all G20 members, except the US, committed to ensuring full and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement, through cooperation on enhanced delivery of national climate contributions, delivering long-term plans by 2020 and with independent monitoring of the shifting of financial flows. Their pledge comes just weeks after US president Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the global climate agreement approved in December 2015.
 
"Implementing the Paris Agreement is in the interest of each nation. Effective climate strategies can help unlock new business and employment opportunities, renewable energy, health benefits, and a sustainable future for all. As G20 leaders join cities, companies and individuals around the globe in committing toward a climate-safe future, it must be crystal clear that there is no place for fossil fuels in this scenario. We can be stronger together for climate but we need to translate ambition into action now," said Pulgar-Vidal.
 
In addition to climate change, leaders at the G20 summit also discussed opportunities and challenges linked to Green Finance and its role in shifting financial flows worldwide toward greater sustainability by taking climate and environmental risks into account.
 
The forum also looked at the important link between wildlife crime and corruption for the first time, with a G20 Action Plan specifically highlighting the profound economic, social, cultural, and environmental impacts of illegal wildlife trade.
 
Margaret Kinnaird, leader of WWF's global Wildlife Practice, said: "Wildlife crime not only threatens our planet's incredible wildlife but it is also harming the lives, livelihoods and human rights of local communities who have depended on their surrounding resources and ecosystems for centuries. We urge Argentina as the next G20 president to build on the legacy of Germany's outgoing presidency and make wildlife crime a priority to help stave off global biodiversity loss and promote sustainable use of natural resources."
 
Moving forward, WWF also urges the upcoming Presidency to continue the group's focus on marine pollution, calling for the definition of timeframes and responsibilities under the Action Plan on Marine Litter and concrete measures such as the development, funding and knowledge-sharing of national legal frameworks facilitating better integrated waste management systems through extended producer responsibility and sustainable financing.
 
On 1 December 2017, Argentina will take over the G20 Presidency and organize the G20 summit in 2018. It will be the second G20 summit to be held in Latin America.

For further information, contact Mandy Jean Woods mwoods@wwfint.org or Rucha Nawara rnawara@wwfint.org. 
Posted: July 8, 2017, 12:00 am
Table: Europe's biggest asset owners and their alignment with Paris Agreement climate targets © WWF / OneHemisphereThe EU's biggest investors are partly aligned with the Paris agreement's climate target of keeping global warming well under 2°C but still invest too much in coal, the first ever such analysis, carried out by WWF, shows. Lack of disclosure on climate risk remains an element of concern that will have to be addressed by the upcoming G-20 Summit in Hamburg and the EU.

WWF's report shows that 29 of Europe's major asset owners, mainly pension funds, from the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland have already implemented changes to bring their public equity portfolio more in line with the well under 2°C climate goal. Almost all of them have cut funding to coal mining; however many of them are investing too much in coal power and still lagging behind on renewable power.
 
"Ensuring capital is invested in companies that contribute to a climate-safe future is key to reaching the Paris Agreement targets, reducing climate-related financial risks and maximising returns. Some asset owners are showing leadership, but more needs to be done to reallocate investments from coal to renewable power." commented Sebastien Godinot, Economist at WWF European Policy Office.

WWF has contacted 80 of Europe's largest asset owners representing USD 13 trillion (EUR 11.7 tn) in total assets, but only 29, worth USD 2.2 trillion (EUR 1.9 tn) have agreed to disclose their data so far. More efforts will be needed to improve the lack of disclosure of holdings data, in part due to a current lack of regulation requiring so in some countries.

"Too many asset owners are still not disclosing how their capital investments are aligned with the Paris Agreement. We call on the G20 leaders meeting soon in Hamburg to improve this, by adopting the recommendations on climate-related disclosures of the designated Financial Stability Board's Task Force. These will have to be made mandatory by the EU and member states across the Union and nationally - a crucial move towards making climate alignment assessments by investors the norm," added Godinot.

Glossary:
  • Asset owners: pension funds, insurance companies and sovereign wealth funds
  • Public equity: the asset class where asset owners and other investors can buy ownership in shares of a company through a public market (stock exchange)
  • 2°C alignment: In this research, alignment with the 2°C target means that an asset owners' equity portfolio holds companies that, put together, own assets (e.g. megawatt of power plants) that are compatible with the forecasts of the IEA 2°C scenario for coal mining, coal power and renewable power for the year 2020.
Notes for the editor:
  • The list of asset owners: WWF approached 80 of the 100 largest European asset owners in twelve countries - Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and UK (Full list available in the report) - for the first ever comprehensive research on how European asset owners' equity portfolios are aligned with the 2°C scenario and technology roadmaps of the International Energy Agency (IEA) for coal mining, coal power and renewable power. These 80 asset owners - defined as pension funds, insurance companies and sovereign wealth funds - represent $13 trillion (11.7 trill euro) of combined assets, more than half of all assets of European institutional investors. The current analysis is based on the first 29 that have provided data, and WWF is collaborating with all the others to ensure more data will be made available in the  next months.  
  • The analysis:  Using the Sustainable Energy Investment Metrics (SEIM) tool, the report compares each asset owner's holdings with the IEA 2°C scenario for the year 2020, going beyond carbon footprinting by assessing technology exposure. The analysis is based on the actual capacity and production plans of each company in portfolio (e.g. tonnes of coal mined per annum or coal/renewable power capacity), using physical asset level data for key sectors.
  • Key results: On coal mining, almost all the 29 asset owners are favourably positioned when compared with the IEA 2°C scenario by 2020 (meaning they already underweight this technology in their portfolio in comparison to the IEA benchmark). On coal power, nearly half the asset owners are misaligned with this scenario. On renewable power, more than half the asset owners are favourably positioned relative to that scenario, some by a significant amount. Almost all of the 29 asset owners are aligned with the IEA 2°C benchmark by 2020 for at least one of the three technologies.
For more information:
Stefania Campogianni,
Communications Manager, WWF European Policy Office
scampogianni@wwf.eu,
Tel: +32 499 53 97 36
Posted: July 4, 2017, 12:00 am
New report recommends climate-related financial disclosures for companies. © ShutterstockLONDON, England (29 June, 2017) – A landmark report making recommendations as to how the financial sector in G20 countries can account for climate-related issues was released today.
 
Finance Ministers from G20 countries will consider the report at the G20 Summit starting on 7 July in Hamburg, Germany.
 
The report was prepared by the the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), under the auspices of the Financial Stability Board (FSB).
 
Margaret Kuhlow, leader of WWF's global Finance Practice, welcomed the report and urged investors and companies to endorse and adopt the recommendations in their next financial cycle.
 
"The focus now must be on implementing the recommendations and gaining practical experience in making them part of routine financial statements. Real success will depend on near-team, widespread adoption by companies and investors." 
 
Asset owners also have an important role to play in influencing the organisations in which they invest to provide better, forward-looking, climate-related financial disclosures.
 
"Material and comparable disclosure expressed in financial risk categories and integrated into financial filings is a powerful instrument. Governments and financial regulators should now assess these recommendations in relation to existing national legislation and regulation on disclosures," said Kuhlow.
 
A key emphasis needs to be put on transition risk scenario and forward-looking analysis. Stock exchange regulators are well-placed strategically to integrate the recommendations within their own listing environment.
 
Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF's global Climate & Energy Practice said full implementation of the Paris Agreements requires not only predictable flows of finance and other resources, but some fundamental changes in the way the financial sector works.
 
"This report makes crucial recommendations in the area of disclosure of climate related financial risks. Implementing these recommendations can play a transformative role in aligning investment practices and financial flows with the long-term climate objectives of the agreement.
 
"Corporate early adopters will benefit by being able to be more competitive in our fast changing world, while decisively contributing to a better world for all."
 
Andrea Marandino, Sustainable Finance and Corporate Risk Manager for WWF-UK, said the decision to extend the TCFD as a private-sector led industry initiative until mid-2018 was a positive move that now needed adoption by the private sector.
 
"We want to encourage the TCFD to support and monitor adoption of the recommendations but also encourage further work by industry groups, international bodies, or multi-stakeholder platforms on critical areas for progress," she said.
 
Other critical areas for progress include the development of methodologies and tools for effective scenario analysis including the establishment of a standardised, industry-wide below 2°C scenario; and the launch of a best-practice guidance per sector group on key scenario elements and assumptions that companies and investors need to report against.  All of these actions will allow for meaningful comparison of the data that becomes available as a result of the TCFD work," Marandino said.
 
For further information, contact:
Andrea Marandino   AMarandino@wwf.org.uk  or
Mandy Jean Woods mwoods@wwfint.org   
Posted: June 29, 2017, 12:00 am
New report recommends climate-related financial disclosures for companies. © ShutterstockLONDON, England (29 June, 2017) – A landmark report making recommendations as to how the financial sector in G20 countries can account for climate-related issues was released today.
 
Finance Ministers from G20 countries will consider the report at the G20 Summit starting on 7 July in Hamburg, Germany.
 
The report was prepared by the the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), under the auspices of the Financial Stability Board (FSB).
 
Margaret Kuhlow, leader of WWF's global Finance Practice, welcomed the report and urged investors and companies to endorse and adopt the recommendations in their next financial cycle.
 
"The focus now must be on implementing the recommendations and gaining practical experience in making them part of routine financial statements. Real success will depend on near-team, widespread adoption by companies and investors." 
 
Asset owners also have an important role to play in influencing the organisations in which they invest to provide better, forward-looking, climate-related financial disclosures.
 
"Material and comparable disclosure expressed in financial risk categories and integrated into financial filings is a powerful instrument. Governments and financial regulators should now assess these recommendations in relation to existing national legislation and regulation on disclosures," said Kuhlow.
 
A key emphasis needs to be put on transition risk scenario and forward-looking analysis. Stock exchange regulators are well-placed strategically to integrate the recommendations within their own listing environment.
 
Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF's global Climate & Energy Practice said full implementation of the Paris Agreements requires not only predictable flows of finance and other resources, but some fundamental changes in the way the financial sector works.
 
"This report makes crucial recommendations in the area of disclosure of climate related financial risks. Implementing these recommendations can play a transformative role in aligning investment practices and financial flows with the long-term climate objectives of the agreement.
 
"Corporate early adopters will benefit by being able to be more competitive in our fast changing world, while decisively contributing to a better world for all."
 
Andrea Marandino, Sustainable Finance and Corporate Risk Manager for WWF-UK, said the decision to extend the TCFD as a private-sector led industry initiative until mid-2018 was a positive move that now needed adoption by the private sector.
 
"We want to encourage the TCFD to support and monitor adoption of the recommendations but also encourage further work by industry groups, international bodies, or multi-stakeholder platforms on critical areas for progress," she said.
 
Other critical areas for progress include the development of methodologies and tools for effective scenario analysis including the establishment of a standardised, industry-wide below 2°C scenario; and the launch of a best-practice guidance per sector group on key scenario elements and assumptions that companies and investors need to report against.  All of these actions will allow for meaningful comparison of the data that becomes available as a result of the TCFD work," Marandino said.
 
For further information, contact:
Andrea Marandino   AMarandino@wwf.org.uk  or
Mandy Jean Woods mwoods@wwfint.org   
Posted: June 29, 2017, 12:00 am
L'Espoir, passive building, Molenbeek © Bruxelles-EnvironnementBrussels, Belgium - 26 June 2017

Energy ministers set about weakening the EU's energy efficiency laws today, taking a step backwards both for the climate and the green economy as they adopted their position on the Energy Efficiency Directive revision.

Imke Lübbeke, head of climate and energy at WWF European Policy Office, said:

"The EU's 'Clean Energy for all Europeans' package has limped off the starting blocks and stumbled at the first hurdle. It should have been a no-brainer to support strong energy efficiency measures given the economic, climate and social benefits of doing so, and the ambition required by the Paris Agreement. Despite this, Member States have rushed to appease the lowest common denominator to reach a quick but bad deal, rather than putting in more time to try and get a better deal."

EU ministers agreed on a 30% energy savings targets for 2030 - far less than the 40% target supported previously by the European Parliament, without clearly indicating whether this will be binding or indicative. They undermined the current rule that states countries should save 1.5% energy per year by decreasing this objective to 1%  between 2026 and 2030 and by adding additional loopholes.

Ministers also agreed on an unambitious revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), which does nothing to increase the rate of energy renovations in buildings; today only about 1% of buildings per year are renovated for energy efficiency improvements.

Arianna Vitali, senior policy officer at WWF European Policy Office, said:

"Our buildings still guzzle a whopping 40% of EU energy, and today's agreement does little to tackle this. Wasted energy, high fuel bills, air pollution and a warming climate will be the price to pay for this lack of ambition unless MEPs are far more progressive."

The European Parliament's energy committee (ITRE) is expected to adopt its reports on the two directives, EED and EPBD, in October. After that, negotiations between the two institutions will begin.

Note for the editor:

Discussions in the Energy Council on the Energy Efficiency Directive revision were long and difficult today as Member States were split and compromise was only reached after long negotiations. The more progressive countries in the energy efficiency discussions today were Germany, Denmark, France, Sweden, Luxembourg and Ireland. UK, Poland, Bulgaria,  Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia,  Romania could not even support  the final weak deal. Issues dividing Member States included the 2030 energy efficiency target, particularly whether it should be binding or indicative, and the "energy savings obligation" which requires countries to save 1.5% energy per year, particularly  the scope of the exemptions and flexibilities that will be allowed after 2020 to comply with Art. 7.

Contact:
Sarah Azau
Senior Communications Officer, WWF European Policy Office
sazau@wwf.eu
Tel: +32 4 73 57 31 37
 
Website: www.wwf.eu
Twitter: @WWFEU
 
Posted: June 26, 2017, 12:00 am
WWF's Arianna Vitali demonstrates what Energy Ministers are trying to do to the energy savings obligation. © WWF European Policy OfficeBrussels, Belgium - 23 June 2017
 
On 26 June, EU Energy Ministers will agree their position - the 'general approach' - on the revised Energy Efficiency and Energy Performance of Buildings Directives.
 
Imke Lübbeke, head of climate and energy at WWF European Policy Office, commented on the expected general approach on the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED):
 
"Energy ministers are pretending to keep energy savings rules intact while quietly slashing holes in them that would send the jobs, climate and economic benefits down the drain. They must put the plug back in by supporting an ambitious binding target and leaving the energy savings obligation alone."
 
Arianna Vitali, senior policy officer at WWF European Policy Office, said on the expected general approach on the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) :
 
"Speeding up building renovation is crucial for climate action, yet Energy Ministers appear to be applying the brakes. They are supporting an EPBD which is going to do nothing to tackle energy poverty or air pollution, let alone kick-start the energy transition. It is essential that MEPs take a far more forward-looking position when they vote this autumn."
 
Who and what?

On 26 June EU Energy Ministers will meet in Luxembourg in Council. They are set to agree their final joint position - known as a 'general approach' - on the proposed revision of the Energy Efficiency Directive and Energy Performance of Buildings Directive. They will also discuss a progress report on other elements of the Clean Energy Package. The Council's 'general approach will provide the basis for their negotiations with the European Parliament, before final agreement.
 
What's in the latest Maltese Presidency compromise texts?
 
On the EED: Energy Ministers will need to make a final political decisions on several key points. These include:
  • The 2030 energy efficiency target: the latest compromise text suggests a 30% indicative target for 2030.
  • Details of the energy savings obligation (Art. 7) which requires Member States to save 1.5% energy every year: the latest compromise text lower the 1.5% to only 1% from 2026-to 2030 and introduces loopholes, such as treating renewable energy in buildings as energy savings.
 On the EPBD, the Council's general approach is nearly finalised. It includes  
  • Long-term renovation strategies for the buildings with "indicative" milestones for 2030 and 2050.
  • A long-term renovation strategy objective to ensure a "highly energy efficient and decarbonised" building stock. Decarbonisation is defined by using the EU commitment to cut GHG emissions by 80-95% compared to 1990.
See WWF's infographic on the EED target
See the Energy Council agenda
 
Contact:
Sarah Azau
Senior Communications Officer, WWF European Policy Office
sazau@wwf.eu
Tel: +32 4 73 57 31 37
Posted: June 23, 2017, 12:00 am
The EU's climate leadership is handicapped by inadequate domestic policy  © Jampur FraizeBrussels, Belgium - 22 June 2017

At the start of the European Council on 22-23 June, at which EU leaders are expected to reaffirm their commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change, Geneviève Pons, director of WWF European Policy Office, commented:

"The EU is to be praised for keeping the Paris Agreement on climate change on the global stage.  But it will not play a leading role in implementation unless its deeds match its words.

It should strengthen its 2030 climate and energy targets, make the Emissions Trading System effective, rapidly phase out coal, and stop energy efficiency laws from being undermined."

 
See WWF's cartoon on EU leadership and the Paris Agreement

 
Posted: June 22, 2017, 12:00 am
The Europe We Want © VariousBrussels, June 20, 2017 – More than 250 non-government organisations from across Europe have today released an alternative vision for a more democratic, just and sustainable Europe.1

Intended to influence the debate on the future direction of Europe, this alternative vision is endorsed by organisations representing a multitude of public interest issues, including labour rights, culture, development, environment, health, women's rights, youth, and anti-discrimination groups.

It comes ahead of a summit of EU leaders this week with the key issues for Europe's future on the agenda, including migration, security, jobs and Brexit. This week also marks the one year anniversary of the UK's vote to leave the European Union (June 23) which propelled questions about the future of Europe up the political agenda.

The vision describes a future for Europe in which "sustainability sits firmly at the heart of the European project," and the EU focuses on "democracy and participation, social  and environmental justice, solidarity and sustainability, respect for the rule of law, and human rights both within Europe and around the globe".

The organisations are putting this scenario for the future forward as an alternative to proposals from European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, including five 'Future of Europe' scenarios which are currently being consulted on with member states with first conclusions due at the end of the year.2

For SDG Watch Europe and Friends of the Earth Europe, Leida Rijnhout, said: "The five scenarios for the future of Europe put forward by President Juncker are all deeply disappointing and have little connection to the challenges that the European Union faces. Instead we need a bold vision – an alternative sixth scenario – that puts social and environmental wellbeing at the core. The implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development should be absolutely key for a future that serves people and the planet, not vested interests."

General Secretary of EPSU (European Public Service Union), Jan Willem Goudriaan, said: "Public services and decent work are key ingredients for a fairer, more cohesive and sustainable Europe.  Everyone benefits from investment in, for example, high quality public healthcare, social services, education, and environmental services. Rather than liberalising public services for the benefit of the few, Europe should develop a proactive strategy to strengthen public investment and democratic accountability in the provision of quality public services for all."

Director of CEE Bankwatch Network, Petr Hlobil, added: "There is a crisis of imagination in Brussels. Reforming the EU Budget holds part of the key to unlocking a progressive and inspiring new vision for Europe. Innovating in how we involve citizens and civil society in EU spending to build flourishing, sustainable futures, and designing EU finance to create more equal societies through this great transition to sustainable well-being, hold the highest potential to reconnect people with the European project."    

Secretary General of the European Public Health Alliance , Nina Renshaw, said: "We are all living healthier lives today thanks to the EU, but it is only through their continued action that we can tackle cross-border health challenges like antimicrobial resistance and make sure we have a healthy population to unlock the full potential of social and economic policies. 70% of Europeans want the EU to do more on health – yet their voices go unheard. The debate on the future of Europe is an unmissable opportunity to put better health at the heart of all policies, ensure stronger protection for patients and consumers and better access to healthcare, which will make a huge difference to all of us."  
 
Notes:
1 256 organisations are supporting 'Scenario 6: Sustainable Europe for its Citizens'
2The European Commission's White Paper on the Future of Europe
***
For more information please contact:
Friends of the Earth Europe/SDG Watch Europe: Leida Rijnhout, Leida.Rijnhout@foeeurope.org, +32 494 89 30 52
EPSU: Jan Willem Goudriaan, jwgoudriaan@epsu.org, +32 475 25 69 12
EPHA: Giulia Vettorem giulia@epha.org, +32 2 233 38 84 
CEE BankWatch Network: David Holyoake, david.holyoake@bankwatch.org, +32 470 36 98 17
Posted: June 20, 2017, 12:00 am
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