Tuesday

13th Apr 2021

EU spent €252m on meat and dairy ads, despite green pledges

The European Commission has spent €252m of its farming advertising budget for 2016-2020 to promote meat and dairy products - raising concerns over the compatibility of EU agri-food promotion policy with the bloc's climate ambitions.

News in Brief

  1. Putin refuses to talk about military build-up, Ukraine says
  2. EU bank to help Greece manage corona-recovery funds
  3. Johnson & Johnson vaccine deliveries to EU begin
  4. EU sanctions commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guard
  5. UK opens investigation into ex-PM Cameron lobbying
  6. 'Significant differences' in EU-UK talks on Northern Ireland
  7. Bulgarian PM reveals price rise in new EU-BioNTech deal
  8. Biden sending envoy to Brussels

Revealed: the new lobbying effort to deregulate GMOs

An investigation by Corporate Europe Observatory has uncovered how new lobbying strategies, aimed at deregulating modern genetic techniques are driven by academic and biotech research institutes with corporate interests - utilising 'climate-friendly' narratives.

'Marked divergences' remain in CAP reform showdown

The 'super trialogue' on the knotty issue of Common Agriculture Policy reform later this week aims to give a rough approximation of the different institutions positions. However, there are still big differences between national capitals and the European Parliament.

Experts threaten to quit over new EU 'green finance' rules

Nine members of the expert group advising the European Commission on sustainable finance rules say criteria for gas, forestry and bioenergy are "a clear contradiction to climate science" - threatening to step down if lobbying and politics prevail over science.

EU Commission 'failed' on assessing Mercosur trade deal

The EU Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly said the European Commission was guilty of "maladministration" by failing to make a timely assessment of any environmental impact from the EU-Mercosur trade deal before finalising negotiations in 2019.

Belgian authorities sued over 'inadequate' green targets

The NGO Klimaatzaak [Climate Case] is taking the Belgian, Flemish, Brussels and Walloon governments to court for breaching their climate obligations, arguing that inadequate climate policy constitutes a violation of standard of care, and human and children's rights.

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MEPs agree carbon border tax - heavy industries protected

Green groups warned that if heavy industry continues to receive free allowances even after a carbon border levy is in place, this would essentially be a double subsidy for those sectors. "The European Commission must correct this," the WWF warned.

Commission: Pioneering Nordics' energy mix 'example' to EU

The Nordic electricity market is an example of successful market integration plus climate action, as the share of sustainable energy keeps growing, the European Commission said. However, the decarbonisation of the transport sector remains a challenge.

EU sets out plan to mitigate 'unavoidable' climate events

Extreme climate-related events cost the EU's economy €12bn annually. Brussels aims to reduce the so-called climate protection gap - the difference between insurance protection and total losses - which is widening due to more frequent extreme weather events.

Investigation

The story of the EU's plastic packaging conflict of interests

Recycling packaging-waste is largely in the hands of the industry itself, via 'Green Dot' organisations. This creates a conflict of interest - because the industry benefits from the sale of as many individual bottles, wrappers, cans and trays as possible.

Investigation

How Energy Treaty 'shadow' courts prolong EU's fossil age

The treaty enables companies to claim billions in compensation from states in front of international arbitration tribunals, if they feel unfairly treated by the states' energy or climate policies.

EU pushes WTO reform and Paris agenda in new trade plan

The bloc's new trade strategy proposes making respect for the 2015 Paris Agreement an "essential element" of future trade agreements. Reform of the World Trade Organization is also a priority for the coming decade.

Opinion

The Green 'gaslighting' of Africa

The West's fake moral high ground on climate change is devastating Africa - Europe must stop gaslighting the poor and create an inclusive Green New Deal.

New EU rules for energy-project funding to keep fossil gas

The European Commission will unveil a reform of EU criteria for picking energy infrastructure projects for financial support - with a particular focus on hydrogen. However, green groups have warned of the risks of not excluding fossil fuels.

EU leaders agree on 55% climate target for 2030

After hours of negotiations, EU leaders agreed to increase the bloc's emission-reduction target to 55 percent by 2030. But Poland and Hungary made sure that member states give the final green light to future climate legislation by unanimity.

EU commission wants 30 million electric cars by 2030

The EU's new mobility strategy aims to reduce transport's carbon footprint by 90 percent by 2050 - with the electrification of road transport, the use of biofuels and more high-speed rail traffic. But no ban on short-haul flights.

Denmark to stop North Sea oil drilling in 2050

Denmark's decision to put a deadline on all oil and gas exploration in the North Sea, as part of the country's plan to phase out fossil fuels by 2050, is expected to put pressure on the UK and Norway.

EU Commission could pull out of controversial energy treaty

Brussels is now considering withdrawal from the controversial Energy Charter Treaty, if negotiations to modernise it fail. A leaked European Commission proposal, dated October, revealed that loopholes remain regarding the protection of fossil-fuel investment.

EU emissions down 24% on 1990 - but still off 2030 target

Emissions regulated under the EU's carbon market fell by 9.1 percent in 2019, although aviation emissions continued to increased. Meanwhile, the Covid-19 pandemic is expected to lead to "an unprecedented fall in emissions" in 2020.

Watchdog slams Commission on BlackRock 'green rules' deal

The European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, concluded the European Commission did not adequately assess potential conflict of interests when it granted a contract to the US giant BlackRock, a global investment manager, to work on environmental rules for banks.

EU air quality improves, but pollution levels still high

The last decade has seen air quality improvements across the continent, but many European citizens are still exposed to illegal and dangerous levels of pollution, according to a new report from the European Environment Agency.

Ombudsman censures EU Commission on gas-projects list

The European Ombudsman said the climate risks from gas projects included on the EU Commission's list of priority energy projects were not properly assessed, urging the commission to address the "shortcomings" of its methodology.

EU unveils €800bn offshore renewables plan

The European Commission aims to increase the bloc's wind energy production at sea massively, reaching at least 300 GW by 2050 - a 25-fold increase from the bloc's current offshore wind capacity of 12 GW

Von der Leyen warns CAP reform does not hit Green Deal

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen voiced concerns about the bloc's ongoing reform of farming policy, saying some of the aspects of the European Council and Parliament's negotiating position are not aligned with the flagship Green Deal.