Climate change

26-10-2015

Cities, regions and climate change

Cities and regions are leading the fight against global warming, calling for the EU to be zero carbon by 2050, as world leaders prepare for the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21) in November.

Endocrine disruptors: Harmful or not?

Rising levels of cancers and fertility problems have attracted scientists’ attention to endocrine disrupting chemicals, with some calling for strict regulation of the substances, in line with the precautionary principle. Others meanwhile, stress the worthiness of those chemicals in everyday products such as plastics and warn that the foundations of science risk being turned upside down if precautionary measures are taken.

Digital 24-09-2012

Greening ICT

Investments in information and communication technologies (ICT) are set to double by 2020 across the European Union, to match consumers' ever-growing hunger for online services. But this also comes at a cost for the environment in terms of electricity consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. The European Commission is now openly asking itself whether the industry should be regulated.

REACH chemical safety review: Re-opening a can of worms?

Five years after its adoption, the European Commission is preparing to review the controversial REACH regulation, which for the first time required chemical manufacturers to justify that their products are safe for consumers before placing them on the market.

Energy 22-12-2011

Smart grids: Making connections

EU plans to move towards a low-carbon economy depend upon a transformed cross-border transmissions system that can integrate renewables and smart meters alike, offering energy consumption savings at source. But is Europe on track to meet the challenge?

28-09-2011

Offsetting carbon: The UN’s Joint Implementation scheme (JI)

As part of the Kyoto Protocol, the United Nations developed a market-based mechanism called Joint Implementation (JI) which allows rich nations to obtain credits for carbon reduction projects in "transition" economies such as Russia, Ukraine and the EU's former communist states. But the system is complex to manage and has yielded little results so far, raising questions about its continuation after Kyoto expires.

Agrifood 09-09-2011

Fertilisers: Feeding agriculture’s growing needs

World fertiliser production is expected to soar to keep up with rising food and biofuel output, but this also triggers environmental problems as fertiliser sucks up energy and trigger water and soil pollution.

Regional Policy 19-08-2011

Efficient energy: Making savings at source

European efforts to increase energy efficiency have so far primarily focused on measures to improve end-use efficiency, and the potential to reduce huge losses that occur in the production and delivery of power have largely been ignored.

Keeping cool with refrigerants: The F-gas review

Fluorinated gases power the world's refrigerants and air conditioning systems, and make up around 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions. But if business continues as usual, by 2050 they could be responsible for between 9%-19% of global emissions, prompting EU policymakers to take action to contain leakage or even ban their use.

15-06-2011

Behind closed doors: Air quality in buildings

Restrictions on tobacco smoke and the Asbestos scandal have put indoor air quality under the spotlight in the recent past, resulting in tough policies to stop damage to human health. While tobacco continues to be the biggest health culprit, nowadays attention is also turning to "chemical cocktails," toxic fumes from heating and cooking, and damp and mould caused by poor ventilation.

Trade & Society 26-04-2011

What goes around comes around: Recycling and climate change

Recycling has become a central part of the EU's climate change strategy by helping the bloc to tackle the nearly three billion tonnes of waste produced by Europe annually, much of which enters the atmosphere in the form of CO2 and methane emissions from landfill sites and incineration plants.

23-11-2010

Environmental liability: Applying the ‘polluter pays’ principle

Successive man-made disasters have seen the EU adopt rules to enforce the 'polluter pays principle' on companies responsible for major environmental damage. 

Energy 01-09-2010

Energy efficiency: The EU’s new action plan

The European Union has proposed new energy efficiency measures to make good on its pledge to combat climate change and reduce its dependency on imported oil and gas.

Regional Policy 17-08-2010

Regions fighting climate change

Led by cities, EU regions are playing a frontline role in the fight against climate change as they make key investment decisions regarding the new generation of clean energy and transport projects.

Energy 04-06-2010

Integrating renewables into the electricity grid

Europe has put in place legislation to promote renewable energies but is now faced with the challenge of integrating increasing amounts of intermittent power sources like solar and wind into the electricity grid, running the risk of destabilising it.

04-05-2010

Can the EU revive global climate talks?

Debate on how to cut carbon dioxide emissions has been hotting up in Europe, in part due to the international community's failure to ink a successor deal to the Kyoto Protocol at the UNFCCC conferences in Copenhagen and Durban. But what are the options - and obstacles to a new pact?

Energy 09-04-2010

Biogas: The green gas?

Biogas has become an attractive alternative source of energy in Europe as the renewable fuel serves several policy priorities, ranging from increased domestic energy production to the reduction of greenhouse gases and more efficient waste treatment.

Energy 09-03-2010

Supporting renewable energies: The ‘transition’ schemes

As most renewable energies are still more expensive than fossil fuels, a variety of support schemes have been put in place to accelerate their uptake and meet the EU's goal of sourcing 20% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Energy 16-02-2010

Smart meters: Controlling your energy bill?

With smart meters gradually being rolled out across Europe, households are expected to gain full control over their electricity consumption, helping the fight against global warming and putting more renewable energy onto the electricity grid.
 

Towards a global life-cycle economy?

Assessing the environmental impact of products throughout their whole lifecycle - from raw material extraction to transport, consumption and final disposal - is being touted as the new mantra in environmental policymaking and sustainable business decision-making.

08-12-2009

Climate change: The road to Copenhagen [Archived]

From 7-18 December, governments from 192 countries meeting in Copenhagen will attempt to thrash out a sweeping agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, amid growing signals from scientists that global warming is occurring more quickly than expected.

07-12-2009

Economics of climate change

Governments and academics are deeply divided over the economic costs and benefits of combating climate change and moving towards a low-carbon economy. The Stern Review, an influential enquiry into the issue, concluded in 2006 that fighting global warming would cost 1% of global GDP, while non-action could lead to a 20% loss of GDP in the long term. In comparison, research published in January 2009 shows that avoiding dangerous climate change could cost as little as 0.5% of global GDP.

Energy 06-11-2009

Energy Performance of Buildings Directive

Buildings have an enormous role to play in the EU's attempts to slash greenhouse gas emissions, as they represent around 40% of all energy use. The EU addressed the problem by introducing minimum requirements for the energy performance of buildings, but having acknowledged that more needs to be done, it is now in the course of revising the legislation.

Energy 14-10-2009

Solar power: Harnessing the world’s largest energy source

The EU – and Germany in particular – is an uncontested world leader in solar power. But the fledgling technology relies heavily on public money to bring down costs and with the economic turmoil EU countries are now having second thoughts about costly subsidy schemes.