The EU has raised its climate target for 2030 to at least -55 %. Agora Energiewende and Ecologic Institute sketch a "Fit for 55" package that can ensure both environmental integrity and solidarity. It investigates four options how to regulate heating and transport emissions, focusing in particular on the pros and cons of expanding emissions trading to these sectors. The paper makes the case for a smart mix of EU-level carbon pricing and companion polices.
Tenant electricity systems generate solar power on apartment buildings and deliver it directly to the households in the building. In a new study, Katharina Umpfenbach and Ricarda Faber evaluate the effects of the existing tenant electricity systems in Berlin. The bottom line: Berlin's tenant electricity projects have positive ecological and socio-economic effects, but these remain low compared to the technically available potential. The government's goal of covering a quarter of the city's electricity needs with solar energy can only be achieved with massively accelerated expansion. Under the existing regime, such dynamism cannot unfold. The framework needs to fundamentally change so that the full potential can be exploited for all plant types and sizes.
As part of its work within the ETC-ICM, Ecologic Institute has contributed as lead author to a new European Environment Agency (EEA) report examining the multiple pressures that agriculture put on Europe's water. The report shows that that a wider uptake of sustainable agricultural practices such as organic farming, agroecological approaches and nature-based solutions is necessary to protect the water environment. To achieve this, ambitious measures to promote sustainable agriculture must be adopted in the upcoming EU common agricultural policy 2021-2027.
To achieve the turnaround towards carbon neutrality, countries around the world need to take much more ambitious action in this decade. One of the key fields of action is the transition of the energy sector –from fossil to renewable fuels, while drastically reducing energy consumption. This paper discusses options how such action can be enhanced through multilateral cooperation.
Diffuse pollution is one of the key reasons European water bodies are failing to meet environmental objectives as specified in the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD). Outbreaks of toxic green algae affect rivers, lakes and coastal waters creating so-called "dead zones" where no aquatic life can thrive. Such outbreaks are by-products of dangerously increasing nutrient levels in water. Nutrient and soil losses have been recognised as challenges for decades across Europe and have been a key driver for freshwater biodiversity losses. With climate change, these challenges are likely to get worse: higher temperatures, lower river flows and more frequent and more violent flooding events. Other human-induced changes (such as dams and weirs) have modified the course of rivers and affected their natural flows.
CIRCASA 2020. Deliverable D3.1: "Strategic Research Agenda on soil organic carbon in agricultural soils." European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme grant agreement No 774378 – Coordination of International Research Cooperation on soil CArbon Sequestration in Agriculture. https://doi.org/10.15454/LSWRDG
Modernising the EU's building stock is essential to meet the twin goals of climate action and green recovery. The building sector is responsible for 27 % of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and for 36 % of energy-related GHG emissions when considering direct and indirect GHG emissions. According to the European Commission, building renovation rates must double to contribute to the envisioned 55 % emission reduction by 2030 – and this in turn is vital to go climate neutral by 2050.
The European Environmental Agency (EEA) published their landmark report on the state of nature in the EU on 19 October 2020, representing the most comprehensive assessment of the status of European nature and biodiversity to date. The State of Nature 2020 provides invaluable insights about the impact of conservation measures that have been applied as well as remaining gaps. The findings indicate that the majority of Europe's biodiversity continues to decline at an alarming rate, threatening the survival of thousands of animal species and habitats.
Nature-based solutions (NBS) are emerging as a tool to integrate nature into territorial planning, with great opportunities to address these threats and benefit humans and ecosystems in parallel. The guide for integrating nature-based solutions in urban planning, a first approach for Colombia has been developed to facilitate the inclusion of nature in urban planning through a seven-step process. The guide was written by Carolina Figueroa during her time at Ecologic Institute as an Alexander von Humboldt International Climate Protection Fellow. The guide is available for download.
Nature-based solutions (NBS) are solutions that are inspired and supported by nature. They can be used in urban settings to complement or replace "traditional" or "grey" solutions to social and environmental challenges, such as air pollution, the heat island effect, water scarcity, flooding, loss of nature and lack of social cohesion. This guidance document highlights a range of policy and supporting instruments relevant for NBS design, implementation and maintenance.
Achieving the Paris Agreement Long-term temperature goal (PA LTTG) requires closing the 2030 ambition and action gap between emissions levels consistent with the Paris Agreement and emissions levels projected with current targets and policies. G20 countries have a crucial role to play in realising increased climate policy ambition, given their economic power and prosperity, as well as their influence on investments, technology deployment and financial flows. This briefing paper provides an overview of mitigation options that have been analysed in recent literature and that can contribute to closing the emissions gap in 2030. This provides the basis to identify key policy areas and promising options for intergovernmental cooperation between the G20 nations, as well as possibly other relevant actors.
Sustainable use of natural resources in the long term requires not only the application and dissemination of resource-saving technologies and infrastructures, but also changes in individual and collective behaviour and social practices. Against this background, different methods were combined in the project "Trendradar Resource Policy" to identify and evaluate societal trends and resource policy measures. Using trend analysis, 20 socially relevant trends were identified and qualitatively described. These trends were then empirically reflected by eliciting perceptions, attitudes and interpretation patterns of the general population in a three-week Moderated Research Online Community (MROC). At the same time, policy measures were identified and qualitatively assessed in terms of relevance and possible barriers to implementation.
This background paper provides an overview of existing and new laws and initiatives regarding plastics in Germany and the EU. Despite the multitude of approaches, guidelines and laws, regulatory gaps remain. The greatest need for action exists in the areas of strengthening recycling and use of recycled plastics as well as waste prevention. Waste prevention remains the unwanted child in the resource discourse, although it almost always represents the best option in terms of environmental policy.
The EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 aims to secure healthy, resilient, biodiversity-rich ecosystems that deliver the range of services essential to the prosperity and well-being of citizens. Nature-based solutions (NBS) are central to achieving the objectives of this strategy. Sandra Naumann and McKenna Davis from the Ecologic Institute have published a report outlining the contribution of over 30 EU-funded research and innovation projects to EU biodiversity, climate and other policy objectives and sustainable transition processes.
For energy-intensive industries, the transformation towards a climate-neutral form of production is a particular challenge, not only because of their large carbon footprints, but also because they are embedded in value chains that are still predominantly fossil-based. However, they too are part of the effort to reach climate neutrality by 2050 and at the same time accelerate the transition by providing competitive clean technology solutions. This study explores how European energy-instensive industries can transition to a climate-neutral economy while maintaining, and ideally improving, its global competitiveness. It investigates different technology options, policy designs and financial instruments.