Consumers & Environment Category (CEC)

By admin,

Cillian Lohan, CEO of the Green Economy Foundation, was unanimously elected as spokesperson of the Consumers & Environment Category (CEC) today at the European Economic and Social Committee.

The category works to make sure that consumer rights and protection of the environment are considered in documents proposed by the European Commission. It also provides a forum for the discussion of policies implemented in the particpants’ own countries.

Cillian will be working on the ‘Environment’ element and Spanish member Bernardo Hernández Bataller (Secretary General of the Association of Communication Users) on the “Consumers” element.

Tree Planting News

By admin,

Tree planting in Ireland & Northern Ireland.

The One Million Trees in One Day team ran a busy planting day this year on Saturday 11th February with just over 77,000 trees planted at 504 sites across Ireland and Northern Ireland.

In bitterly cold and wintry conditions, farmers and smallholders, schools, colleges, community groups and other landowners turned out to plant trees on their land.  The planting included woodland, hedgerow, coppice, orchard and agroforestry establishment projects with more than 70 community groups taking part and hundreds of volunteers helping with the distribution and planting of trees.

Project Co-ordinator Imogen Rabone says:
“We ran a modest project this year with a relatively short lead-time – we’re delighted to have been able to include so many landowners and such a diversity of planting projects.  We have worked with some brilliant sponsors and donors this season and our new application fees have been a success, so we look forward to continuing development of the project for 2018.  As always – a huge thank you to all of our helpers, particularly those running collection points and helping with tree deliveries.”

The One Million Trees in One Day project has planted over 700,000 trees across Ireland and Northern Ireland and is currently working on co-ordinating its 2018 projects.  For more information visit www.onemilliontreesinoneday.com

EESC Opinion on Ecodesign Working Plan

By admin,

The Green Economy Foundation’s Cillian Lohan is currently working as Rapporteur on the European Economic and Social Committee Opinion on Ecodesign Working Plan 2016 – 2019.

The Ecodesign Working Plan is a part of the Commission’s programme Clean energy for all Europeans. The Working Plan 2016-2019 is an important part ot the Circular Economy package, published in December 2015.

Cillian Lohan says of the Ecodesign Working Plan: “The design of a product is important for its durability, reparability, and recyclability.  It is critical that the scope of the Commission’s Ecodesign work is broad enough to drive innovation in business that will in turn support the development of a strong secondary raw materials market. Clean, valuable, accessible secondary raw materials are critical for the transition to circularity to be achieved.”.

With the measures for the new products in the Working Plan and the revision of existing measures, the Commission states that an additional 600 TWH primary energy savings could be made by 2030. This corresponds to the yearly energy consumption of Sweden.

The Ecodesign Working Plan sets out an indicative list of product groups that are considered as priorities for the adoption of implementing measures.  New products that will be considered are: building automation and control systems, electric kettles, hand dryers, lifts, solar panels and inverters, refrigerated containers, and high pressure cleaners.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, who are at the centre of the mission to accelarate the transition to a circular economy, published this excellent document which explains much about the concept of designing for a circular economy.  Click HERE to read it.

EESC Opinion on Waste to Energy

By admin,

Green Economy Foundation CEO Cillian Lohan, member of the European Economic and Social Committee, has been working as Rapporteur on an Opinion on Waste to Energy.
The following article from the Euractiv news-site outines some of the key issues and positions contained in the opinon:

Click HERE to ready the article in full.

Impact of Glyphosate on Soil Health

By admin,

 

The use of Glyphosate, the main active ingredient in Round-Up and other weedkillers and herbicides, has been in the news often in 2016 as its ongoing licensing and use in the EU is debated.

The Soil Association UK have recently published this useful summary of evidence on the Impact of Glyphosate on Soil Health which you can read by clicking here: HERE

Green Economy Foundation has long been concerned about the widespread use of glyphosate in agriculture and forestry as a herbicide and as a desiccant applied to crops pre-harvest.  GEF’s concerns can be broadly summarised as follows:

  • Widespread unregulated use on arable crops, forestry sites, gardens, public parks and roadsides with insufficient evidence that it binds to and breaks down safely in soils within a specified time across varied conditions.
  • Its impact and run-off implications when used in riparian zones, sensitive water catchments and close to all manner of ditches, drains and waterways must be more clear.
  • The long term impact of glyphosate on soil and plant health is little understood and must be more conclusively investigated.
  • Insufficient research into the effects on human health both in exposure to glyhosate in handling and application and to passers-by when land is sprayed.
  • Insufficient research into the effects on human health when glyhosate is eaten as a residue on food that has been sprayed prior to harvesting.  Glyphosate can be found in two thirds of UK wholemeal bread and is used on almost a third of UK cereal crops pre-harvest (Soil Association UK 2016) to kill and dry crops for easier harvesting and more consistent water content.  Figures for Ireland are less clear.

Green Economy Foundation feels strongly that the use of glyphosate should be severely restricted or banned in Europe until conclusive research is completed on its impacts.

Our man in Brussels

By admin,

Through the Environmental Pillar, we are very pleased to have our CEO on the European Economic and Social Committee. There Cillian Lohan has been selected as the rapporteur on an Opinino on the Circular Economy package published in December 2015 by the Juncker Commission.

Here is a graphic explanation of how an opinion is written and what its purpose is in terms of making laws at a European level.

COP 21 – what now?

By Jamie Hanrahan,

The world rightly celebrated when 195 countries signed onto a new international climate agreement at COP21 in Paris late last year. The Paris Agreement is a critical turning point—a fundamental pivot toward a zero-carbon and climate-resilient world. But some key steps lie ahead to take the momentum from Paris forward and ensure that the Agreement quickly comes into effect and is fully implemented. – write Eliza Northrup and Katherine Ross in this interesting article from renewableenergyworld website.

 

Click here for the full article

 

Circular Economy Package hearing

By Jamie Hanrahan,

Last week saw the hosting of a public hearing on the new Circular Economy Package at the EESC in Brussels. This follows the publication of the new Circular Economy Package by the European Commission in December 2015. That is currently making its way through the legislative process in Brussels. The targets within the package are less than a withdrawn previous CE package from 12 months ago.

watch this space for more news on developments in this area.