Connect with us

Economy

New Report From European Court Shows Weaknesses In 2020 Targets

Published

on

First EU-IAEA Senior Officials Meeting. Brussels, Belgium, 25 January 2013 by IAEA via Flckr

Under the Renewable Energy Directive, EU Member States can only use biofuels certified as sustainable to reach their 2020 target of sourcing ten per cent of the energy in transport from renewable sources.

Most biofuels placed on the EU market are certified through voluntary schemes recognised by the European Commission. But the auditors concluded that the schemes suffer from weaknesses in the Commission’s recognition procedure and in its supervision.

“The 2020 targets for sustainable energy in transport are important for the EU environment and for all transport users. But tracking the achievement of the targets must be based on sound data and a reliable certification system. That is what our audit set out to examine,” said Bettina Jakobsen, the Member of the European Court of Auditors responsible for the report.

The auditors found that the Commission did not require schemes to verify whether biofuel production carried risks such as conflict over land ownership, forced or child labour, poor working conditions for farmers and dangers to health and safety. The schemes’ assessments did not cover the impact on biofuel sustainability of indirect land‐use change (when more land is cultivated for food to make up for crops used in biofuel production). The auditors accept that assessing indirect land‐use change presents technical difficulties, but without this information the relevance of the certification system is undermined.

The Commission gave recognition to schemes lacking procedures to ensure that biofuels did indeed come from waste or that feedstocks fulfilled environmental requirements, say the auditors. Some schemes were not transparent enough or were governed by only a few members, which increased the risk of conflict of interest as well as prevented effective communication with other stakeholders.

The Commission does not supervise the operations of voluntary schemes and can therefore not be sure that these actually apply the standards on which they have been certified or detect infringements of the rules.

Member States are responsible for the reliability of their statistics on sustainable biofuels counting towards the achievement of the ten per cent transport energy target. But the auditors found the statistics might be overestimated, because Member States could include biofuel whose sustainability was not verified. There were also problems with the comparability of data.

In their recommendations, the auditors call on the Commission to ensure that the certification schemes:

• Assess how much biofuel production entails significant socioeconomic risks and indirect land‐use change;

• Verify that feedstock producers comply with environmental requirements for agriculture;

• Provide sufficient evidence of the origin of waste and residues used for biofuels.

They recommend that the Commission itself should:

• Assess whether the schemes’ governance reduces the risk of conflict of interest and are sufficiently transparent;

• Check that the operations of the certified schemes comply with the standards presented at the time of recognition and that the schemes set up transparent complaints systems;

• Seek evidence from Member States on the reliability of their biofuels statistics and harmonise the definition of waste substances.

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

Published

on

By

energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

Continue Reading

Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

Published

on

IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Facebook

Trending