The Board of the European Investment Bank (EIB) yesterday agreed to support EUR 6.9 billion of new financing. This includes backing new investment across Europe and around the world to improve communications, renewable energy, sustainable transport, social housing and education infrastructure.
The summary of the hearing is now available.
Over the course of my 5-year mandate as the European Union’s Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, I have had many opportunities to consider this phrase. In debates, I have heard the phrase too many times: “It’s just a drop in the ocean”.
Yet after these five extraordinary and fulfilling years, I am left with hope. Why? Because I have worked with so many people who are passionate about furthering the green and blue agenda. NGOs, campaigners, yes, but also business leaders, politicians at every level, economists and many individual citizens. In addition, I am more convinced than ever that change is happening.
Every year, some 8 million tons of plastic enter the sea. As it slowly degrades, plastic marine litter turns into microplastics, becomes ingested by animals and in turn enters the human food chain. The EU is determined to solve this issue once and for all. But public policy and legislation alone cannot solve this problem: a clean ocean is the responsibility of all.
In a world increasingly focused on moving away from single-use materials, copper is infinitely recyclable. At the same time, copper—and many other metals—is an essential component in powering a sustainable-energy future because it is a key material in a large number of renewables and efficiency applications.
EIT RawMaterials Booster-supported start-up, Circularise, has been selected among five start-ups by BASF, one of the world’s leading chemical companies, and Greentown Labs, the largest cleantech incubator in North America, for their Circularity Challenge.
Weekly activities of the Commissioners in energy & climate, environment, digital, transport, trade, finance, food & drink and health policy.
Food packaging waste is currently under scrutiny. In the context of its Circular Economy Action Plan1 , the EU is addressing this through, among others, its Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) initiative2 , which aims to enhance the reliability of environmental claims — both in a business-to-consumer and in a business-to-business context. The initiative aims, therefore, to boost the market of green and circular products. However, a review of the methods available for assessing the environmental sustainability of packaging now highlights the difficulty of clearly characterising packaging’s environmental impact. The study suggests a new, fully quantifiable framework that could help to standardise assessment methods and bring ‘environmental footprint labelling’ to fruition.
Considering the impact on soil carbon, biodiversity and ecotoxicity is important when assessing the environmental footprint of dairy products, suggests a new study, which explored the impacts of organic and conventional milk production in three types of system established in Western Europe. The study found that organic milk production had a significantly lower impact on ecotoxicity and biodiversity than conventional milk production, and suggests that including soil carbon changes in the assessment would result in greater reductions in the carbon footprint of organic, rather than conventional, milk — in some cases by up to 18%.
Microplastics, polymer-based particles of less than five millimetres in size, have become an archetypal sign of anthropogenic waste and environmental pollution. This German study explores how microplastics in soil affect plants, screening the potential effects of six different microplastics on the soil environment, plant traits and function using a terrestrial plant-soil model based on the spring onion (Allium fistulosum). The researchers find that plants react strongly to microplastic exposure, with significant changes observed in the physical parameters of soil, plant root and leaf traits and plant biomass.
By Transport & Environment
The EU transport commissioner-designate today committed to greater European action on maritime emissions, but risked being at odds with public demand to address airlines’ climate impact. Transport & Environment (T&E) said Adina-Ioana Vălean’s hearing in the European Parliament’s transport committee, in which she also provided little detail on deploying the infrastructure needed for zero-emissions road transport, was a “mixed bag”.
By Transport & Environment
Unlike combustion engines that burn oil, batteries do not burn lithium or other minerals like cobalt and nickel, which can be fully recovered and used again. From a life cycle perspective battery-powered vehicles are already better than engined cars. However, they still have an environmental impact, notably in parts of their manufacturing and metals extraction. This paper, informed by the report available below, outlines T&E’s vision of how an upcoming EU regulation can minimise the environmental impact and maximise both the industrial and climate benefits of batteries in transport.
As the Guardian of the Treaties, the European Commission has today sent a letter of formal notice to the United Kingdom for breaching its EU Treaty obligations by not suggesting a candidate for the post of EU Commissioner. The UK authorities have until Friday 22 November at the latest to provide their views. This short time period is justified by the fact that the next Commission must enter into office as soon as possible.