Running out of time? Stepping up action on EU's environment

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A new report by IEEP ‘Running out of time? Stepping up action for Europe’s environment’ calls for increased leadership and political courage to reinvent the EU’s economic development model at this critical point in time. The report was launched at a high-level conference in Brussels on 4 December 2012 which was opened by Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for the Environment.

Transcript of Running out of time? Stepping up action on EU's environment

  • 1. Running out of time? Stepping up action for Europes environment Axel Volkery Senior Fellow & Head Environmental Governance Brussels, 4 December 2012

2. Green economy on the rise in Europe and globally BMU, 2012: GreenTech made in Germany 3.0, CBI, 2012: the colour of growth: maximising the potential of green business In 2011, eco-industries provided 11 per cent of GDP in Germany (BMU, 2012) Over a third of the UKs economic growth in 2011-2012 is likely to have come from green business (CBI, 2012) Market segment Status 2011 (in billion Euro) Estimated average annual change by 2025 (in %) Energy efficiency 720 3.9% Sustainable water management 455 5.0% Environmental friendly power generation and storage 313 9.1% Sustainable mobility 280 5.0% Material efficiency 183 7.7% Waste management and recycling 93 3.2% Total 2044 3. Green economy on the rise in Europe and globally Low-carbon and environmental jobs across England, 2011-2012 Green Alliance, 2012: Green economy a UK success story 4. Are we doing enough? almost four-fifths of the CO2 emissions allowable by 2035 are already locked-in by existing power plants, factories, buildings, etc. If action to reduce CO2 emissions is not taken before 2017, all the allowable CO2 emissions would be locked-in infrastructure existing at that time. Rapid deployment of energy-efficient technologies would postpone this complete lock-in to 2022 (IEA World Energy Outlook 2012) To give ourselves a more than 50% chance of avoiding two degrees will require a six-fold improvement in our rate of decarbonisation. [ ] Governments ambitions to limit warming to 2C now appear highly unrealistic. This new reality means that we must contemplate a much more challenging future. (PWC, 2012, Too late for Two Degrees Low Carbon Economy index) Examining each of the EUs strategic environmental priority areas, the story is broadly the same. We are making progress but we will jeopardise the wellbeing of current and future generations if we dont step up our efforts (EEA, 2010 State of the European Environment and Outlook Report) 5. Overview of IEEP report Scaling up action to 2030 and beyond Protecting the natural environment Decarbonising Europes economy Prudent use of natural resources Better financing Better implementation Better information, monitorin g and assessment 6. Decarbonisation by 2030 Infrastructure transformation in line with the needs of low-carbon energy supply, transport, buildings Demand side changes progressed substantially with falling use of electricity outside the transport and heating sector. Transmission and storage systems are better organised at EU level. Substantial investment in new industries forming the foundation of a low-carbon economy. 7. Decarbonisation priorities Keep dynamic growth of renewable energies Increase the flexibility of Europes power grids Speed up improvements in energy end use efficiency Overall and sector-specific GHG emission reductions for 2030 Agree range of binding targets for energy efficiency for 2030 Agree range of binding targets for renewable energy for 2030 Reform of the EU ETS Adequate support for smart transmission and distribution 8. Prudent use of natural resource by 2030 A substantial reduction in the EUs footprint so that our share of worlds resources is closer to the global average. Waste is largely eliminated. A strong bio-economy is in place. Substantial investment in new industries forming the foundation of a circular economy. 9. Priorities for prudent use of natural resources Establish routes to a circular economy Improve water management and land use Operationalise the Resource Efficiency Roadmap Develop an EU natural resources programme Greatly improve water management: water pricing and water efficiency is key Make sustainable consumption matter: build up thematic packages of Directives, using regulation where appropriate Agree relevant targets and indicators (by end of 2013) Develop a coherent EU approach to land use (incl. soil) 10. Natural environment needs by 2030 A functioning, high-quality Natura-2000 network with sufficient connectivity Ensure strong contribution from CAP, CFP and Cohesion Policy to deliver on public goods Build on a robust evidence base for prioritising action and continue strong action on no-net loss of biodiversity and ecosystems services Substantial investment from private and public sources is provided 11. Preparing for 2030: Some critical issues EU policy and investment cycles need to be better aligned: Policy cycles might allow agreement on 2030 agenda by 2015 at the earliest Programming of investment cycles (i.e. EU budget) might pre-empt decisions Balancing long-term stability and flexibility: - Reviving market confidence requires long-term clarity and certainty - At the same time, some degree of policy flexibility is needed to take into account policy evaluations EU needs to invest into capacity-saving and capacity-building: Clear, coherent and effective legislation Better assistance and support to monitoring, data and assessment Better involvement of civil society 12. Addressing implementation, finance, and information Cross- cutting priorities Better financing Better implementation Better information, monitoring and assessment 13. Improving implementation Better inspections and enforcement Better empowerment of civil society Better policy design and information Deepen requirements for inspections in EU law and establish a EU inspection capacity Final check on clarity, coherence, and consistency of legislative texts Better empowerment of civil society (access to justice, better complaint-handling) 14. Improving financing Better use of environmental taxes and charges Reform of environmentally harmful subsidies Better spending and attracting private capital Revise Energy Taxation Directive Minimum criteria for environmental levies Environment & climate mainstreaming and proofing Streamlined and better financed innovative instruments Inventory of harmful subsidies & regular reporting 15. Improving information, accounting and assessment Better information and monitoring Better accounting Better assessment Better argue the economic case: Cost of non-/poor implementation (score card of implementation) Opportunity costs of inaction Push for capacity-saving approaches: A coherent approach to environmental assessment Revision of reporting requirements where possible Guidelines for monitoring Push for capacity-building: Invest in science-policy interfaces Develop natural capital accounting systems Aggregate indicators/beyond GDP 16. Making it happen? Conditions are far from being easy need to balance ambition and pragmatism in a strategic focus Be simple: We have too many strategies Be many: Need to build coalitions and understanding - bring in regions and progressive business more systematically Be explicit: Better argue the economic case Be tough: Prioritise a stricter stance on legal enforcement Be flexible: Working towards common ends should be the goal, but pathways could become more flexible 17. Thank you for your attention IEEP staff: Sirini Withana, David Baldock, Doreen Fedrigo-Fazio, Patrick ten Brink, Raphael Sauter, Peter Hjerp and many more External Advisory Group: Christian Hey, Domingo Jimenez-Beltran, Mikael Skou- Andersen, John Seager, Jerzy Jendroska With thanks to the Villum Foundation for supporting this process IEEP is an independent not for profit institute dedicated to advancing an environmentally sustainable Europe through policy analysis, development and dissemination. For further information see: Follow us on twitter: IEEP_EU This presentation represents the views of IEEP staff only