Citing a responsibility to tackle the problem of marine litter originating from Europe, on May 28, 2018, the European Commission presented a proposal for a Directive on Single Use Plastic Products that if adopted will restrict and increase the costs of marketing different categories of single use plastic products and fishing gear containing plastic.  Many plastics, such as polypropylene, are produced from petroleum derivatives.  The proposal is one of the main measures that the Commission announced in its Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy and is mainly intended to address plastic marine litter in oceans and seas.
Continue Reading European Commission Proposes Marketing Restrictions on Single Use Plastic Products

This post looks at the recent English High Court decision in Dana Gas PJSC v Dana Gas Sukuk Ltd & Ors [2017] EWHC 2928.

Participants in the Middle East (and wider) Islamic finance markets held their breath during much of this year.  This was pending consideration by the High Court in England on some

Last week the European Commission presented an extensive package of legislative proposals (“Clean Energy Package”) that are intended to achieve and implement the European Union’s climate change and clean energy targets for 2030: a 40% cut of CO2 emissions, a share of 27% for renewable energies, and energy savings of 30%.

The package presents both opportunities and challenges for energy-related industries as well as for information technology companies whose products will help to achieve Europe’s energy efficiency objectives.  According to the Commission, its proposals should mobilize up to 177 billion Euros of public and private investment per year from 2021, and generate up to a 1% increase in GDP over the next decade.

The Commission’s proposals are a first step of a legislative process in the European Parliament and Council that is likely to last at least 18 months, and will provide industry with opportunities to influence the legislation on renewable energies and energy efficiency that will apply in the EU as of 2021.


Continue Reading The European Commission Presents its 2030 Clean Energy Package

The European Commission calculated years ago that someone flying from London to New York and return generates roughly the same level of CO2 emissions as the average person in the EU does by heating their home for a whole year. And air traffic is supposed to double by 2035…

This is why the European Union decided as early as 2008 that, as part of its effort to address climate change, it would extend its so called EU emissions trading system (“ETS”) to the aviation sector.[1] By 2012, in principle, emissions from all flights from, to and within the European Economic Area (EEA) – the 28 EU Member States, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway – should have been included in the EU ETS system.

But this proposal was very negatively received by third countries. Airlines for America (A4A) together with several American air carriers engaged in legal disputes against the EU Directive, arguing that it broke the EU-US open sky agreement, the Kyoto Protocol, and the International Civil Aviation Convention. After their case was lost in the European Court of Justice, a coalition of countries led by the United States, China, Russia, India, Japan, and others launched a major political offensive against the unilateral character of the EU scheme. Their major argument was that the Directive, by imposing obligations on third countries, went against the principle of sovereignty. They pleaded that a satisfactory solution could only come through a global market based scheme, as it was discussed (but with not much success at the time) in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Assembly .

As a result of these pressures – which included retaliation threats targeting Airbus sales – the EU renounced, provisionally, imposing its system to extra-EU flights. ETS requirements for flights to and from non-European countries were ‘suspended’ until the end of 2016, in order to give time to ICAO to develop a global ‘market-based measure’ (MBM) scheme. ICAO’s Assembly in 2013 decided in principle that a mechanism would be agreed by 2016 and applied by 2020. In the meantime, only flights within the EEA continued to be covered by the ETS system, with some exemptions for operators with low emissions.

ICAO has respected its self-imposed deadline: In its 39th session, on October 6th 2016 in Montreal, an agreement was reached on a ‘Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA). According to the scheme, CO2 emissions for international aviation would be capped at the level of average emissions between 2019 and 2020, with participants offsetting any increases; the offsetting obligation would apply to all international flights between States that are part of CORSIA. In order to offset its emissions, an airline operator would have to buy ‘Emission Units’ originating from various emission reduction programs and projects across the globe. The specific criteria for these ‘Emission Units’ will be developed by ICAO in the next two years.

But, in order to ensure broad support, negotiating States concluded substantive compromises on the timeline of implementation, exemptions to the agreement, and the distribution of offsetting requirements among airline carriers.[2]  The European Union fought to reduce these exceptions or delays to a minimum but with limited success. It decided, anyway, in the end, to accept the final agreement.
Continue Reading The EU reaction to ICAO ’s Agreement on Aviation Emissions

The EU recently published a Guidance on Compliance Criteria on Environmental Claims (“Environmental Claims Guidance”).  The Guidance is intended to support economic operators and EU Member State enforcement authorities in  their application and implementation of the principles of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive (“UCP Directive”) to self-declared environmental claims and related graphics and imagery.  The UCP Directive establishes principles to prevent unfair commercial practices that may harm the commercial interests of consumers.
Continue Reading EU Adopts New Guidance on Environmental Claims

The European Commission intends to ban the use in apparel of hundreds of Cat. 1A and 1B carcinogenic, mutagenic and toxic for reproduction substances (“CMRs”) within the next year. To do so, the Commission expects to use the so-called “fast-track” procedure to ban CMRs under Regulation 1907/2006 (“REACH Regulation”), instead of the standard procedure for prohibiting substances. Historically, the fast-track procedure has been reserved for mixtures that contain CMRs and are intended for the general public.  The Commission has indicated that its proposal to ban the use of CMRs in apparel is a “test-case” of its intention to also ban Cat. 1A and 1B CMRs in articles (i.e., objects) intended for consumers on a regular basis in the near future.  This fast-track procedure allows less scientific input from the European Chemicals Agency (“ECHA”) and industry, and the related restrictions would create significant barriers to international trade. 
Continue Reading Upcoming European Chemical Restrictions in Apparel Raise Concerns

The European Commission has adopted a Circular Economy Package (“Package”) intended to create a single market for the reuse of materials and resources.  The policy initiatives discussed in the Package will impose on companies manufacturing or marketing goods in Europe additional eco-design, waste take back, and other producer responsibility requirements.  Some initiatives may also encourage the development of second hand and other alternative markets.

The Package consists of a framework Communication and various upcoming legislative and non-legislative initiatives, including:

  • legislative proposals to amend the Waste Directive, the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive, the Waste Landfill Directive, and the Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment;
  •  announcements of upcoming legislative proposals to amend the EU Fertilizers Regulation, to introduce new product design, and marking requirements to facilitate the dismantling, reuse and recycling of electronic displays;
  •  an initiative on Green Public Procurement; and
  •  the review of the voluntary EU eco-label criteria.

The Package is intended to replace a series of previous legislative and policy initiatives on waste and resource efficiency that, in a controversial move, the Commission withdrew earlier this year.
Continue Reading The European Commission Adopts Circular Economy Package

Recently, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) held that EU Member States are not obliged to require an environmental impact assessment for all exploratory drillings.  However, the Court’s decision can also be interpreted as requiring Member States to demand such impact assessment if the drillings can be classified as “deep drillings” and,

On February 25, 2015, the European Commission presented three communications on:

  1. a Framework Strategy for a Resilient Energy Union with a Forward-Looking Climate Change Policy;
  2. Achieving the 10% Electricity Interconnection Target: Making Europe’s Electricity Grid Fit for 2010; and
  3. The Paris Protocol: A Blueprint for Tackling Global Climate Change Beyond 2020.

These