Sonja van Renssen introduces the top 5 Environment issues discussed in the EU institutions at the moment, namely:
– Air quality policy review: it revises the national emission ceilings or NEC directive, which sets national emission limits for transboundary pollutants such as NOx and SOx. The proposals are likely to be modest in scope, setting for the first time goals for 2020 and caps on fine particulate matter the black carbon. They may also regulate methane.
– Thoughts on shale gas: a study for the Commission identified gaps in EU environment law when it comes to shale gas exploration. The Commission is therefore expected to present a framework to plug these gaps.
– Using less plastic bags: The proposal was reportedly blocked by the Commission’s secretary general, Catherine Day earlier this year, on the grounds that jobs and growth should be the EU’s top priorities. But it is back on the autumn agenda.
– Resource efficiency: expecting two communications from the Commission, one on sustainable food and one on sustainable buildings, both towards the end of the year. They will be followed by public consultations launched in July. In both cases, DG Environment proposes a common method for measuring environmental impacts.
– Ship recycling: a new EU law on ship recycling still needs to be approved by the Parliament’s plenary this autumn. The deal as it stands would forbid ships flying an EU flag from being broken up on beaches in the likes of India or Bangladesh.