Drilona Shtjefni, Deputy-Secretary of Eubia, Chairman of the Biopolymers Summit 14th-15th February

The Deputy-Secretary General of EUBIA, Drilona Shtjefni is going to be the Chairman of the Biopolymers Summit that is taking place the 14th-15th of February in Dusseldorf, Germany.

The confirmed topics for the Summit are:

  • Environmental Policy Impact on Biopolymer Industry
  • Brand Owners and Retailers Perspective on the Growing Role of Biopolymers
  • Polymer Fundamentals: the Best Performing Features of the Design and Properties of Biodegradable polymers
  • Commercialisation & Market Access
  • Next Generation Polymers: Biopolymers with Advanced Functionalities for High Performance Applications
  • Pioneering New Processes & Technologies
  • Biopolymers Producers Case Study: Exploring the Excellence
  • Challenges of Sourcing Sustainable Feedstock used in Production of Bio– based Polymers

Please find here more information about the event.

Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking Event, 17th April 2018 in Brussels

The Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking Event will be taking place the 17th of April 2018.

The BBI JU is focused on promoting a productive, sustainable biomass, optimise efficient processing and viability for biorefineries as well as in the markets, products and policy framework.

The BBI JU working plan on Call for Proposals is available in their website.

More information of the BBI JU Annual Work Plan and Budget 2018 can be found here.

Please find here more information about the event.

Public Consultation on the Establishment of the Innovation Fund – Climate Action

A Public Consultation on the establishment of the Innovation Fund in the policy context of Climate Action was launched last year and contributions are welcomed until April (consultation period: 15/01/2017 –  10/04/2018).

The main objectives of this consultation is to give the possibility to the public and stakeholders to express their opinion on the Innovation Fund and to obtain information from the expert side, industry, academia and other stakeholders about what needs to be considered in the design of the Innovation Fund.

More specifically, contributions are welcome from Stakeholders directly affected by Commission Regulation and that are likely to benefit from the funding or that have ans interest in the initiative as well as from the general public.

Please find here the direct link to the Survey.

Please find here all the information about the Public Consultation.

Adoption of the First European Strategy for Plastics

The European Commission has adopted the first strategy for Plastics that aims to contribute towards Circular Economy.

This Strategy forms part of the Circular Economy Package, which appearance goes back to 2015, when it was first adopted. Its objective is to achieve a European Circular Economy where resources are used in a more sustainable way. Even before that, in December 2014, there was a willingness from the Commission to present a legislative proposal on waste but finally decided to expand the proposal to the whole economy and propose a new package the following year. Since the Circular Economy Package was adopted there have been initiatives to expand the scope of this package.

The Plastics Strategy has been released by a team of First Vice-President Frans Timmermans (responsible for sustainable development), Vice-President Jyrki Katainen (responsible for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness) and Commissioners Karmenu Vella and Elżbieta Bieńkowska, who were previously also working on the Circular Economy Package.

The Strategy focuses on four priority areas regarding how plastics are being designed, produced, used and recycled: improve the economics and quality of plastics recycling, curb plastic waste and littering, drive investments and innovation towards circular solutions and harness global action. Overall, this Strategy aims to reach a full recycling plastic packaging on the EU market by 2030, reduce consumption of single-use plastics and  restrict the intentional use of microplastics. In Europe, around 25 million tonnes of plastic waste are produced yearly, from which only a 30% is collected.

However, as it was expected from the first draft released of the Strategy, a plastic tax is not included. Although Budget Commissioner Günther Oettinger proposed a plastic tax which would be beneficial for finances after brexit ant to make garbage more expensive, the Commission only briefly mentioned it by saying that they will ‘explore the feasibility of introducing measures of a fiscal nature at the EU level’.

Measures to be adopted in the coming years, as established on the European Strategy for Plastics, include:

-adoption of the proposed new Directive on port reception facilities from the European Parliament and Council;

-revision of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive;

-legislative initiative on single-use plastics;

-follow-up to COM (2018) 32 “Communication on the implementation of the
circular economy package: options to address the interface between chemical,
product and waste legislation”;

-development of harmonised rules on defining and labelling compostable and
biodegradable plastics;

-evaluation of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive.

Stakeholders are invited to contribute by participating on the ongoing public consultation until 12 February 2018.

Please find here the Press Release of the European Commission.

Please find here news about this issue.

Academics support Bioenergy before MEPs’ vote on the Clean Energy Package

On Wednesday 17th of January MEPs will vote on three files in the clean energy package: the Renewable Energy Directive, the Energy Efficiency Directive and the Governance Regulation.

The Renewable Energy Directive consists on establishing an EU policy for the production and promotion of energy from renewable sources. At the moment, it requires the EU to fulfil at least 20% of its total energy needs with renewables by 2020, each country having its individual target. On 2016, the European Commission proposed an upgrade to a minimum of 27% of renewable energy consumption in Europe by 2030.

The Energy Efficiency Directive sets up a 20% energy efficiency target by 2020.  The European Commission proposed an increase of the target to a 30% of energy efficiency in Europe by 2030, in 2016. On the same year, some goals were suggested for the Governance regulation in order to improve the regulation and ensure that the energy and climate targets are met. It is now the turn for the MEPS to vote on these proposals.

Beforehand, a letter has been signed by 62 academics supporting bioenergy and the need to acknowledge its potential as a renewable source of energy to promote bioenergy projects.

As signed by the academics in the letter ‘We believe that bioenergy has to be an essential part of the EU energy mix for at least the next 30 years. Without bioenergy and CCUS technologies, the COP21 commitment for a 1.5 degree reduction will be very hard, if not impossible to achieve. The negative impacts on the climate and society from such a failure will be significant for humans and biodiversity’.

Please find here the complete news about this issue and some of the controversy with the bioenergy sources.

Future of CAP: a non-centralised system?

The European Commission is planning to change the current system of the CAP, the Common Agricultural Policy, which absorbs a 40% of the total EU budget. The new system should rely on the principle of subsidiarity, rather than a centralised system as it is currently happening. Traditionally, the countries receive direct payments to farmers, that being Pillar 1 (payments) 70% of the total, while Pillar 2 (rural development funds) receives a smaller proportion. The objective is to transfer some budget from Pillar 1 to Pillar 2, motivating farmers to act green in farming in order to get subsidies.

There has been a general petition by farmers to make amendments to the current policy due to the heavy bureaucratic system. Furthermore, a change is needed on the distribution system, as the funds are obtained mostly by big farm owners (being the payments system based on acreage). With the new system, the subsidies that farmers get will depend on their contribution to environmental and rural development schemes instead.

The new system would be that the European Commission defines the general vision of the European agriculture sector, such as market oversight or environmental rules, and policies are implemented at the national level according to specific needs of the country. On the one hand, this will abolish the centralised rules of farming that the farmers do not agree on, such as crop rotation. However, on the other side, the new system should be closely followed by the Commission to ensure that there is a focus on results and that the desirable impact of subsidies is taking place.

Please find here the complete news about this issue (page 26).

Initiatives of the European Commission to promote a modern economy

In December 2017, The European Commission presented ten initiatives at One Planet Summit in Paris.

These initiatives form part of the Action for the Planet which has as objective to explain which are the steps that the EU is taking to form a modern economy and fair society, that being accomplished thanks to the use of sustainable energy.

Please find more about this news here.

Internet of Things 4 Food, 21-23 March 2018 in Dublin

UCD, University College of Dublin is hosting a IoT4F conference in Dublin from 21-23 March 2018

The main aim is to bring together and network academia, industry, investors and regulators to develop the possibilities of the Internet of Food. There are specific opportunities for both academic and industry participation.

Please find here more information about the event.

To pay or not to pay? The EU has to decide on payments to coal-fired plants

The EU has been aiming for a decarbonization of the environment and a green energy transition. However, the reality is that the EU is still dependant on non-renewable resources like coal. Renewable resources such as wind and solar power are highly dependent on weather and season conditions. Therefore, other sources are needed for energy security reasons such as coal and gas. The issue is that the EU has been giving subsidies to coal-fired plants, and now, it has been questioned if these subsidies should continue to be provided. Moreover, gas companies could be benefiting from this decision. The European Commission has made a proposal to limit payments only to generators
emitting fewer than 550 grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt hour. This implies that coal plants would be eliminated, which will only leave the option for gas. The proposal has provoked different positions on Member States and marked the beginning of a lobbying campaign from Euroelectric, opposing the 550 rule as it could lead to additional costs up to €50 billion; and the main gas and renewable energy-focused companies and associations that could benefit from the 550 rule.

In conclusion, this proposal has created a debate within the institutions that will be solved with the decision of the Parliament and the Council and that will be crucial settle the path towards a green economy transition.

Please find here the complete news about this issue (page 32).

Update of the EU Emissions Trading System with Brexit

The European Union launched the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) in 2005 in order to decrease emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases at least cost. By establishing a price on carbon and giving an economic value to the tonnes of emissions saved, the EU Emission Trading Systems enhances companies to invest in clean and low-carbon technologies. According to this system, European companies can buy and sell  emission allowances as needed.

Following the endorsement by the Climate Change Committee of the amendment to the EU ETS Registry Regulation to implement safeguard measures to protect the environmental integrity after Brexit, the UK adopted a law on 27 December 2017 by which the compliance deadline for 2018 emissions has been advanced to 15 March 2019.

This news follows the previous amendment in November by the EU MS which included measures that limited the use of allowances issued by the United Kingdom. The so-mentioned amendment was made without the intention to prejudice further agreements in the negotiations between the EU and the UK.

Find the complete news about this issue here.