News in brief: air pollution and climate

This section provides information in the form of brief news items on policy, legislative, scientific and technological developments as well as major events in the field of air pollution and climate change at national (France), EU and international levels. Each news item is introduced by a keyword to indicate the subject and a flag to show if the information concerns France, the EU or the international level (news from an international organisation or an individual country beyond the EU). An URL link is provided to obtain further information.

In accordance with the conclusions of the 5th meeting of the Paris Agreement Working Group (APA-1-5) (May 2018), its two Chairs published a joint reflections note, in consultation with the Chairs of the two UNFCCC subsidiary bodies (SBI [implementation] and SBSTA [Scientific and Technological Advice], also tasked with defining the Paris Agreement's implementation rules for specific sections (finance, flexibility mechanisms, etc.). This joint reflections note captures progress achieved up to now and puts forward options for organising the upoming session (APA-1-6). The note aims to ensure consistency in the talks and to provide an overview of the respective progress in the three working groups (APA, SBI and SBSTA).

In accordance with the conclusions of the 5th meeting of the Paris Agreement Working Group (APA-1-5) (May 2018), its two Chairs published "tools" to facilitate négotiations at its upcoming session (APA-1-6, 4-9 September 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand) to define the Agreement's implementation rules. These "tools" draw on the revised informal notes on the different sections of the Agreement (national contributions, transparency, global stocktake,...) resulting from the negotiations at the 5th session.These tools are documents of about 10 pages each (CK), aimed at streamlining the informal notes in order to help the negotiators progress in producing an agreed basis for negotiation by COP-24 (3-14 December 2018 in Katowice, Poland). In accordance with Decision 1/CP.22 (adopted at COP-22), Parties must adopt the Paris Agreement's implementation rules at COP-24. The tools are available here.

The European Environment Agency (EEA) published the annual EU greenhouse gas emissions inventory with data for the 1990-2016 period. The EU’s total greenhouse gas emissions decreased very slightly (by 0.4%) in 2016 compared to 2015 levels. Between 1990-2016, they fell by 22.4% The EEA also published a report ‘Analysis of key trends and drivers in greenhouse gas emissions in the EU between 1990 and 2016’.
See press release, inventory and analysis report.

The European Environment Agency (EEA) published provisional CO2 unit emissions data for new passenger cars for 2017 under Regulation (EC) n° 443/2009 establishing CO2 emissions standards for new passenger cars (article 8) and its implementing Regulation (EU) n° 1014/2010. The new data shows that the average CO2 emissions of a new car sold in the EU rose by 0.4 g CO2/km last year to 118.5 g CO2/km, a 0.4g CO2/km rise on 2016. EEA will publish final data on car manufacturers' individual performances in autumn 2018. See EEA press release and provisional data.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) published a new report presenting a snapshot of recent global trends and developments across fuels, renewable sources, energy efficiency and CO2 emissions in 2017. The data are preliminary at this stage. Global energy demand grew by 2.1% in 2017, more than twice the growth rate in 2016. Global energy-related CO2 emissions grew by 1.4% in 2017, reaching a historic high of 32.5 gigatonnes (Gt), a resumption of growth after three years of global emissions remaining flat (in 2014, 2015 and 2016). see full report and summary.

Directive (EU) 2018/410 of the European Parliament (EP) and the Council of 14 March 2018 was published in the EU Official Journal (L 76). It amends Directive 2003/87/EC (establishing the EU greenhouse gas Emissions Trading System or ETS) in order to implement the 4th trading period (2021-2030). The Council formally adopted the Directive on 27 February 2018 and the EP approved the final text on 6 February 2018. The new Directive will enter into force on 8 April 2018. Member States must transpose the provisions of the Directive into national law by 9 October 2019.

47th session of the IPCC (Intergovernemental Panel on Climate Change) in Paris. On this occasion, the IPCC, established in 1988 by the WMO (World Meteorological Organisation) and UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme, today called UN Environment), is also celebrating its 30th anniversary on 13 March. Subjects on the agenda at the meeting include reporting on progress on preparing the IPCC Special Report on global warming of 1.5°C (impacts of a global mean temperature increase of 1.5°C and associated emission trajectories. The report is due to be published in October 2018.
See programme and pre-meeting documents.

The EU Council formally adopted the Directive revising Directive 2003/87/EC (establishing the EU greenhouse gas Emissions Trading System or ETS). The revision involves implementing the 4th trading period (2021-2030). The European Parliament, meeting in plenary, formally approved the final text of the Directive on 6 February 2018. It will shortly be published in the EU Official Journal and will enter into force 20 days after publication. See news item dated 6 Feb. 2018 in this section.
See final text of directive adopted and Council press release.

The European Parliament, meeting in plenary, approved the informal deal on the compromise text concerning the proposal for a Directive revising Directive 2003/87/EC (establishing the EU greenhouse gas Emissions Trading System or ETS). The revision involves implementing the 4th trading period (2021-2030). The Commission presented the proposal on 15 July 2015. The informal deal was reached on 9 November 2017 between representatives of the European Parliament (EP) and the EU Council, endorsed on 22 November 2017 by the Committee of Permanent Representatives of the Member States (Coreper), and then approved by the EP's Environment Committee on 28 November 2017. The text still needs to be formally adopted by Council before being published in the EU Official Journal.

On the initiative of EU Environment Commissioner, Karmenu Vella, an Air Quality Ministerial Summit was held in Brussels to which Ministers from nine Member States (Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and the United Kingdom) were summoned. Infringement proceedings are underway between the Commission and the nine Member States concerned for exceeding air quality standards set by the two Directives 2008/50/EC and 2004/107/EC. The aim of the Summit was to give an opportunity to the Member States to prove that additional adequate steps will be taken to redress the current situation (pollutant emission reduction measures) without delay and comply with EU legislation on air quality and emission limits (Directive 2016/2284). Commissioner Vella stated that the nine member States concerned have until Monday 5 February 2018 to submit their additional measures but he did not indicate whether the Commission intends to refer the countries to the EU Court of Justice.
See Commission press release. See also the steps of the infringement procedure.

The UNFCCC Secretariat opened a new portal for the Talanoa Dialogue, launched at COP-21 by Decision 1/CP.21 (§ 20) which accompanied the Paris Agreement, between Parties to assess collective reduction efforts in 2018 and enhance the level of ambition via the national contributions (NDCs). Decision 1/CP.23, adopted at COP-23, set out the detailed arrangements for this approach including the opening of the new portal. See UNFCCC press release and webpages on the Talanoa Dialogue.

EU Environment Commissioner, Karmenu Vella, announced that he has invited Ministers from nine Member States (Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and the United Kingdom) to convene in Brussels for an Air Quality Ministerial Summit on 30 January. Infringement proceedings are underway between the Commission and the nine Member States concerned or exceeding air quality standards set by the two Directives 2008/50/EC and 2004/107/EC. The aim of the Summit is to give an opportunity to the Member States to prove that additional adequate steps will be taken to redress the current situation (pollutant emission reduction measures) without delay and comply with EU legislation on air quality and emission limits (Directive 2016/2284).
The European Commission also adopted a Compliance Assurance Action Plan which is a set of specific measures to help Member States promote, monitor and enforce compliance with EU environmental rules that prevent pollution or environmental harm. See Commission press release.

Commission Regulation (EU) 2017/2400 of 12 December 2017 was published in the EU Official Journal (L 349). It establishes, as from 1 January 2019, a system for monitoring and reporting CO2 emissions and fuel consumption from heavy duty vehicles (lorries, buses and coaches) in the EU. The Commission presented a proposal for a Regulation on 31 May 2017 as part of its policy and legislative package on low emission mobility. The new Regulation enters into force on 18 January 2018.
https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/transport/vehicles/heavy_en (Climate Direction webpage on heavy duty vehicles' CO2 emissions)

Commission Regulation (EU) 2017/2392 of 13 December 2017 was published in the EU Official Journal (L 350). It amends Directive 2003/87/EC establishing the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) in order to extend, until 31 December 2023, the measure to temporary suspend the application of the ETS to airline companies operating flights from or to non-EU destinations (known as the "stop the clock" measure).

 

The Estonian Presidency of the EU Council and representatives from the European Parliament reached a provisional agreement on a compromise text concerning the proposed Regulation on sharing efforts between the 28 Member States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from sectors not covered by the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) (ie transport, agriculture, commercial/residential/institutional buildings, waste treatment). The Commission presented the proposal on 20 July 2016. The informal agreement must now be confirmed by the Council via the Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER). It will then be put to the European Parliament for plenary vote before being formally adopted by the Council.
See Council press release.