Limiting global warming to 1.5°C: the IPCC report

Early October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its awaited special report on the impacts of global warning of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. The IPCC was commissioned as part of the Paris Agreement to produce this report. The Paris Agreement includes the aim of “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels”. Pre-industrial levels refer to the period of around 1850-1900.

Climate change effects already visible

Extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Artic sea ice are the consequences of 1°C above pre-industrial levels. The IPCC report states that human activities are estimated to have caused this 1°C global warming above pre-industrial levels, and that global warming is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2050. However, the report highlights that warming from anthropogenic emissions from the pre-industrial period to the present will persist for centuries to millennia but that these emissions alone are unlikely to cause global warming of 1.5°C. Anthropogenic emissions are also unlikely to cause further warming of more than 0.5°C over the next two to three decades. Climate change effects are already visible. Many land regions experience a warming greater than the global annual average. Moreover, scientists observe a trend in some climate and weather extremes that are occurring more frequently and with more intensity.

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Public consultation on chemical, product and waste legislation – open until 29th October

The European Commission public consultation addressing the interface between chemical, product and waste legislation is open until 29th of October 2018. This public consultation follows the Commission’s analysis of the interface between chemical, product and waste legislation, published January 2018. The objectives of the public consultation is to address stakeholder reaction to these options and questions posed with regard to four issues:

  • insufficient information about substances of concern in products and waste;
  • the presence of substances of concern in recycled materials;
  • uncertainties about how materials can cease to be waste; and
  • difficulties in applying EU waste classification methodologies and impacts on the recyclability of materials.

The public consultation welcomes contribution from any interested party, including private citizens, companies, organisations, public authorities etc. The questionnaire is available here.

The European Plastic Strategy and Horizon 2020 opportunities

Concerned about the importance of plastics as a material in our economy and by its negative impact on the environment, the European Commission adopted in January 2018 its European strategy for plastics in a circular economy. This strategy, as part of the broader 2015 EU action plan for the circular economy and of the 2008 Waste Framework Directive, will also contribute to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement and the EU’s industrial policy objectives.

Objectives

The objective identified by the Strategy s is to tackles two main challenges: developing a circular economy of plastic throughout the value chain and their entire life cycle and enhancing environment protection. The Commission aims at ensuring that, by 2030, all plastic packaging is reusable or recyclable in a cost effective manner.

What next?

In order to implement the strategy, the Commission is planning actions that will result in future EU measures.

The strategy is organised around 4 pillars that aim at improving the economics and quality of plastics recycling, curbing plastic waste and littering, driving investment and innovation towards circular solutions, encouraging global actions.

The Commission has already started taking a number of actions.

In order to improve the economics and quality of plastics recycling, new quality standards for plastic waste and recycled plastics have been introduced. The Commission has also planned to revise the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive and to issue new guidelines on separate collection and sorting of waste.

In its efforts to curb plastic waste and littering, the Commission proposed in January 2018 a revised directive on port reception facilities for the delivery of waste from ships. In May 2018, the Commission proposed a new directive to tackle marine litter, which targets the 10 single-use plastic products most often found on Europe’s beaches and seas, as well as lost and abandoned fishing gear. These proposed directives build on existing rules such as the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and complements other actions taken against marine pollution, such as under the Port Reception Facilities Directive.

The Commission is also seeking to impose restrictions on microplastics and oxo-degradable plastics via the REACH regulation.
On July 10th 2018, the European Parliament’s environment committee, under the guidance of MEP Demesmaeker Mark, included in its draft report a motion for a European parliament resolution to ban microplastics and oxo-degradable plastics. The European Parliament will debate on the strategy on the 12th of September and vote the 13th of September.

Finally, for driving investment and innovation towards circular solutions, the Commission plans to develop a Strategic Research Innovation Agenda on plastics to provide orientation for research and innovation funding beyond 2020. The Commission is also directing financial support for infrastructure and innovation EU funding instruments. 

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Participate in the European Sustainability award!

You have worked on a project or on an initiative addressing the sustainable development goals? Then the European Sustainability award by the European Commission is made for you!

What is it?

The European Commission launched for the first time its European Sustainability award. It is a prestigious recognition that aims at raising awareness of the SDGs in the EU by giving a human face to the efforts and creativity of European people, businesses and organizations, which are turning the global sustainable development goals into concrete solutions and opportunities.

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Open Science: What is the OpenAIRE2020 project and how can it help Horizon 2020 applicants and NCPs?

The OpenAIRE2020 project is a large-scale initiative that aims to promote open science and substantially improve the discoverability and reusability of research publications and data. The project includes 50 partners covering all EU countries and beyond. The initiative brings together professionals from various backgrounds: research libraries, open scholarship organisations, national e-Infrastructure and data experts, IT and legal researchers. 

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European Bioeconomy Manifesto published and presented to Commissioner Moedas

The bioeconomy means the production of renewable biological resources and the conversion of these resources, residues, by-products and side streams into value added products, such as food, feed, bio-based products, services and bioenergy (EU Bioeconomy Strategy 2012).

This article aims to give an overview on what is happening in regards Bioeconomy policy development on European level. While Bioeconomy as a word is included in the work programme for Societal Challenge 2, it is also a concept relevant for Societal Challenge 5 topics, from the point of view of (bio-based) raw materials, circular economy, nature-based solutions, and climate change.

The European Bioeconomy Manifesto was published and presented by the European Bioeconomy Stakeholder Panel to the Research and Innovation Commissioner Carlos Moedas at the end of November 2017.

The manifesto is an important boost for the Bioeconomy development in Europe, not the least because of the representative group of stakeholders who stand behind it. The Stakeholder Panel (footnote), who prepared the manifesto, brings together stakeholders from various different sectors: industry, research, primary producers, regions and NGOs. A common manifesto from sectors with different agendas gives a strong message to policy makers in Europe to further support the move towards a biobased economy.

The manifesto is divided into four sections: 1.) Introduction, 2.) Guiding Principles for Development of the Bioeconomy, 3.) Actions, 4.) Recommendations to the EU and Member States.

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Overview of calls for cities and communities in Horizon 2020 Societal Challenges

The newly published work programme for Societal Challenges 5 includes several calls for cities and urban development. The focus in the calls is on circular cities, nature-based solutions, health in cities and transforming urban heritage:

  • CE-SC5-03-2018: Demonstrating systemic urban development for circular and regenerative cities. Innovation Action, Budget range 10 MEUR per project
  • SC5-13-2018-2019: Strengthening international cooperation on sustainable urbanisation: nature-based solutions for restoration and rehabilitation of urban ecosystems. Research and Innovation action, budget range: 5 MEUR per project
  • SC5-14-2019: Visionary and integrated solutions to improve well-being and health in cities. Innovation Action, budget range 10 MEUR per project
  • SC5-20-2019: Transforming historic urban areas and/or cultural landscapes into hubs of entrepreneurship and social and cultural integration. Innovation action, budget range: 7-8 MEUR per project

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