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Carbon emissions pricing: Some points of reference

30-03-2020

The need to do more to mitigate climate change resulting from emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), in particular in terms of pricing, is widely accepted. Several countries around the globe are either planning to implement or have introduced carbon-emission pricing measures (i.e. taxing or internalising negative externalities), with varying scope (upstream, downstream), coverage (sector exclusions) and boundaries (subnational or national areas). The objective is to reduce emissions in line with medium-term ...

The need to do more to mitigate climate change resulting from emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), in particular in terms of pricing, is widely accepted. Several countries around the globe are either planning to implement or have introduced carbon-emission pricing measures (i.e. taxing or internalising negative externalities), with varying scope (upstream, downstream), coverage (sector exclusions) and boundaries (subnational or national areas). The objective is to reduce emissions in line with medium-term climate change mitigation pathways. There are broadly two approaches: the emissions trading system (cap and trade) and carbon taxing. The existing measures are assessed regularly so as to be made more effective as regards emission reductions. The number of jurisdictions having adopted or intending to adopt carbon pricing has increased but still remains limited, in particular as regards the level of emissions covered. One concern is to address 'carbon leakage', a term that describes shifts in economic activities and/or changes in investment configurations, directly or indirectly causing GHG emissions to be moved away from a jurisdiction with GHG constraints to another jurisdiction with fewer or no GHG constraints. Measures addressing carbon leakage have complementary objectives and outcomes that need to be addressed in their design. They address competitiveness and trade concerns, while their central raison d’être is climate change mitigation. They are now at the top of the EU agenda.

Outcome of the video-conference call of EU Heads of State or Government on10 March 2020

13-03-2020

Given the unprecedented circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak and the potential EU-wide ramifications, Heads of State or Government of the 27 EU Member States welcomed the initiative to hold a special meeting by video-conference on 10 March 2020. European Council President Charles Michel expressed his sympathy for all those citizens affected by the disease and, in particular, for Italy, the country most affected so far. The Member States discussed the COVID-19 outbreak and agreed on four ...

Given the unprecedented circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak and the potential EU-wide ramifications, Heads of State or Government of the 27 EU Member States welcomed the initiative to hold a special meeting by video-conference on 10 March 2020. European Council President Charles Michel expressed his sympathy for all those citizens affected by the disease and, in particular, for Italy, the country most affected so far. The Member States discussed the COVID-19 outbreak and agreed on four lines of action to contain the spread of the disease. The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Central Bank, Christine Lagarde, the President of the Eurogroup, Mario Centeno, and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell, also took part in the discussion.

What if we could fight coronavirus with artificial intelligence?

10-03-2020

Αs coronavirus spreads, raising fears of a worldwide pandemic, international organisations and scientists are using artificial intelligence to track the epidemic in real-time, effectively predict where the virus might appear next and develop effective responses. Its multifaceted applications in the frame of this public health emergency raise questions about the legal and ethical soundness of its implementation.

Αs coronavirus spreads, raising fears of a worldwide pandemic, international organisations and scientists are using artificial intelligence to track the epidemic in real-time, effectively predict where the virus might appear next and develop effective responses. Its multifaceted applications in the frame of this public health emergency raise questions about the legal and ethical soundness of its implementation.

The European Green Deal [What Think Tanks are thinking]

09-03-2020

The European Green Deal is a key policy plank of the new European Commission led by President Ursula von der Leyen. It is a package of measures that aims to radically cut emissions of greenhouse gases while creating jobs in clean industries. Its main objectives are for the EU to become climate neutral by 2050, radically reduce other types of pollution, help European companies to become world leaders in green products, and offer aid to regions affected by this economic transition. This note offers ...

The European Green Deal is a key policy plank of the new European Commission led by President Ursula von der Leyen. It is a package of measures that aims to radically cut emissions of greenhouse gases while creating jobs in clean industries. Its main objectives are for the EU to become climate neutral by 2050, radically reduce other types of pollution, help European companies to become world leaders in green products, and offer aid to regions affected by this economic transition. This note offers links to recent commentaries, studies and reports from international think tanks on the Green Deal and climate issues. More studies on the topics can be found in a previous item from these series, published in early December 2019.

COP25 climate change conference: Outcomes

06-03-2020

The COP25 climate change conference took place from 2-15 December 2019 in Madrid, Spain, under the presidency of the Chilean government. It addressed outstanding issues relating to the rulebook for implementation of the Paris Agreement, notably the rules on cooperative approaches. Despite a two-day prolongation, the parties failed to reach an agreement and postponed the decision until 2020. The conference did however make progress on implementation of the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and ...

The COP25 climate change conference took place from 2-15 December 2019 in Madrid, Spain, under the presidency of the Chilean government. It addressed outstanding issues relating to the rulebook for implementation of the Paris Agreement, notably the rules on cooperative approaches. Despite a two-day prolongation, the parties failed to reach an agreement and postponed the decision until 2020. The conference did however make progress on implementation of the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage, and adopted an enhanced gender action plan. A European Parliament delegation attended the conference.

Information package on ‘Innovation in Agriculture’ Public Hearing of 18 February 2020

18-02-2020

This information package is prepared by the Policy Department for Structural and Cohesion Policies for the hearing of 18 February 2020 organised by the European Parliament’s Agricultural and Rural Development Committee (AGRI Committee). The main purpose of the paper is to facilitate the legislative work of MEPs related to the agri-food research & innovation issues.

This information package is prepared by the Policy Department for Structural and Cohesion Policies for the hearing of 18 February 2020 organised by the European Parliament’s Agricultural and Rural Development Committee (AGRI Committee). The main purpose of the paper is to facilitate the legislative work of MEPs related to the agri-food research & innovation issues.

What if crop protection were environment-friendly?

11-02-2020

Pesticides are indispensable in modern agriculture, but the EU wants crop protection to be responsible and eco-friendly. What options are there to reduce the use of synthetic pesticides?

Pesticides are indispensable in modern agriculture, but the EU wants crop protection to be responsible and eco-friendly. What options are there to reduce the use of synthetic pesticides?

Desertification and agriculture

10-02-2020

Desertification is a land degradation process that occurs in drylands. It affects the land's capacity to supply ecosystem services, such as producing food or hosting biodiversity, to mention the most well known ones. Its drivers are related to both human activity and the climate, and depend on the specific context. More than 1 billion people in some 100 countries face some level of risk related to the effects of desertification. Climate change can further increase the risk of desertification for ...

Desertification is a land degradation process that occurs in drylands. It affects the land's capacity to supply ecosystem services, such as producing food or hosting biodiversity, to mention the most well known ones. Its drivers are related to both human activity and the climate, and depend on the specific context. More than 1 billion people in some 100 countries face some level of risk related to the effects of desertification. Climate change can further increase the risk of desertification for those regions of the world that may change into drylands for climatic reasons. Desertification is reversible, but that requires proper indicators to send out alerts about the potential risk of desertification while there is still time and scope for remedial action. However, issues related to the availability and comparability of data across various regions of the world pose big challenges when it comes to measuring and monitoring desertification processes. The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and the UN sustainable development goals provide a global framework for assessing desertification. The 2018 World Atlas of Desertification introduced the concept of 'convergence of evidence' to identify areas where multiple pressures cause land change processes relevant to land degradation, of which desertification is a striking example. Desertification involves many environmental and socio-economic aspects. It has many causes and triggers many consequences. A major cause is unsustainable agriculture, a major consequence is the threat to food production. To fully comprehend this two-way relationship requires to understand how agriculture affects land quality, what risks land degradation poses for agricultural production and to what extent a change in agricultural practices can reverse the trend. Cropland expansion and intensification of agriculture are among the drivers of land degradation processes that can lead to desertification. Yet, agriculture itself can provide solutions to land degradation. Almost half of the EU Member States have declared that part of their territory is affected by desertification, yet there is no EU-level strategy to tackle this problem. EU agricultural policy can have an impact on the elements and drivers of desertification, for example, by promoting sustainable agriculture in the awareness that protecting farmland productivity is of interest to the public and farmers alike.

Natural resources and environment: Heading 3 of the 2021-2027 MFF

27-01-2020

Dedicated to programmes and funds supporting agriculture and maritime policy, and environment and climate change, Heading 3 is the second biggest in terms of funding in the European Commission proposal on the future multiannual financial framework (MFF) for 2021-2027. The two agricultural funds – the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) and the Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) – are the main financial instruments for the common agricultural policy (CAP). They will continue to ...

Dedicated to programmes and funds supporting agriculture and maritime policy, and environment and climate change, Heading 3 is the second biggest in terms of funding in the European Commission proposal on the future multiannual financial framework (MFF) for 2021-2027. The two agricultural funds – the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund (EAGF) and the Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) – are the main financial instruments for the common agricultural policy (CAP). They will continue to absorb the greater part of the financial resources under this heading. However, the European Commission proposes an amount of €324 284 million to cover both funds, which is a decrease of around €60 000 million (or 15 %) compared to the current MFF (2014-2020), after deducing current United Kingdom (UK) spending. The proposed European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) would amount to €5 448 million, which is 13 % less than in the current MFF, after deducting current UK spending. In its November 2018 resolution on the European Commission proposals for the new MFF, the European Parliament, raised the budget for agricultural and maritime policy back to the level of the current MFF (2014-2020), to €391 198 million. Where the European Commission proposes €4 828 million for the Programme for Environment & Climate Action (LIFE) for 2021-2027, Parliament's resolution increased this amount considerably, requesting an allocation of €6 442 million. Parliament has also asked for a new Energy Transition Fund, with a budget of €4 800 million for 2021-2027, to address the negative socio-economic impact on workers and communities affected by the transition from a coal and carbon dependent economy to a low-carbon economy. The Council has not yet adopted a position on the MFF proposal and national positions are divergent. However, according to the 'negotiating box' proposed by the Finnish Council Presidency, under Heading 3, the cuts in the budget for agriculture would represent a reduction of 13 % in spending, compared to the current MFF.

Understanding environmental taxation

16-01-2020

Environmental taxation is one way of encouraging a shift towards more eco-friendly choices; employed in combination with the other instruments available, it can help bring about the adjustments required to tackle the environmental and climate challenges facing us today. The aim of environmental taxation, in principle, is to factor environmental damage, or negative externalities, into prices in order to steer production and consumption choices in a more eco-friendly direction. Environmental taxation ...

Environmental taxation is one way of encouraging a shift towards more eco-friendly choices; employed in combination with the other instruments available, it can help bring about the adjustments required to tackle the environmental and climate challenges facing us today. The aim of environmental taxation, in principle, is to factor environmental damage, or negative externalities, into prices in order to steer production and consumption choices in a more eco-friendly direction. Environmental taxation can potentially address all aspects of environmental protection and conservation. The fight against climate change, pollution – especially air and water pollution – and pressure on the environment, in particular from resource consumption and biodiversity loss, as well as contributory factors, such as gas emissions and the use of potentially harmful substances, can be the subject of tax measures. These are general or sectoral measures which are applied in different ways by individual states and their regional and local authorities. In the European Union, environmental policy and tax policy determine the scope for action of Member States and the Union. Existing environmental taxation measures account for a modest share of national tax revenue. Although the environmental aims are generally acknowledged as valid, when environmental taxation measures are implemented a range of factors must be taken into account, in particular competitiveness and fairness, to ensure that environmental taxation is sufficiently transparent to gain acceptance and so become an effective instrument in the transition that society now so urgently needs.

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