Tag Archives: European Union

New EU Requirements on Products Containing REACH Candidate List SVHCs

The European Union has adopted a new obligation on suppliers of articles that contain substances listed in the REACH Candidate List of SVHCs in concentrations above 0,1% to submit a notification to the European Chemicals Agency (“ECHA”).  The new requirement is intended to facilitate the recycling of products and was introduced by a new Directive … Continue Reading

The European Commission Presents its 2030 Clean Energy Package

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 … Continue Reading

EU Adopts New Guidance on Environmental Claims

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 … Continue Reading

What’s the Deal with Low Oil Prices?

The International Energy Agency (IEA)’s latest monthly market report, published on November 13, 2015, revealed that the already “massive cushion” of oil stockpiles has inflated further to reach a record level of almost 3 billion barrels.  Following the announcement, oil prices reportedly dropped to a two-month low. The IEA described this stockpile as “an unprecedented … Continue Reading

Can Courts Oblige States to Increase Greenhouse Gas Emission Cuts? Urgenda vs. Dutch State

On September 23, the Dutch Government appealed a decision* of the District Court in The Hague that obliges the Dutch State to reduce its greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions by at least 25%, instead of the currently envisaged 17%, compared to 1990 levels.  The decision is unique in its kind in Europe: it forces a government … Continue Reading

The Road to Paris 2015: The EU Commits to a 40% Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions as Part of its INDC to the UNFCCC COP 21

The Council of Environment Ministers of the European Union has approved the EU’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (“INDC”) in anticipation of the COP 21 of the UNFCCC in Paris in December 2015.  At COP 21, the UNFCCC contracting parties are expected to agree on a new international legal agreement on climate change to be implemented … Continue Reading

EU Court of Justice Clarifies that the Exploratory Drilling of Petroleum and Natural Gas May Be Subject to an Environmental Impact Assessment

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, … Continue Reading

The Road to Paris 2015: The European Commission Announces its Initiatives to Achieve a European Energy Union and an International Climate Change Deal

On February 25, 2015, the European Commission presented three communications on: a Framework Strategy for a Resilient Energy Union with a Forward-Looking Climate Change Policy; Achieving the 10% Electricity Interconnection Target: Making Europe’s Electricity Grid Fit for 2010; and The Paris Protocol: A Blueprint for Tackling Global Climate Change Beyond 2020. These three Communications build … Continue Reading

Large EU Member States Take National Divergent Measures on Shale Gas Extraction

Member States continue to adopt national and divergent rules on hydraulic fracturing across Europe.  Last week, the United Kingdom facilitated hydraulic fracturing operations by adopting its Infrastructure 2015 Act.  In contrast, Germany is considering the adoption of a legislative proposal that is intended to be more restrictive than the European Commission’s Recommendation on Hydraulic Fracturing. … Continue Reading

The Future of the EU Energy Union and Energy Charter Treaty

On 6 February 2015, the Energy Union Conference in Riga, Latvia (the “Conference”), signalled the start of the Riga Process towards forming the key dimensions and actions of the new EU Energy Union (the “Energy Union”). During the Conference, the Secretariat General of the Energy Charter Treaty[1] spoke of its relevance to the Energy Union. … Continue Reading

NGOs May Sue European Governments for Failure to Comply with EU Mandatory Environmental Standards

In November, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CoJ”) held once again that NGOs and persons directly concerned may bring legal actions before national courts against EU Member States that fail to comply with EU mandatory environmental standards.  The CoJ’s decision (CJEU, C-404/13) concerned the UK government’s failure to adopt adequate plans to … Continue Reading

Comparing Externalities from Energy Sources

Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen recently decried “the failure to develop a framework for assessing the comparative costs of different sources of energy . . . inclusive of the externalities involved.”  As if on cue, the European Union (EU) issued an interim research report by an outside consultancy last month that purported to do just … Continue Reading

EU Sanctions Against Russia and Their Impact on the Energy Sector

Last week, the EU decided to maintain in force its sanctions against Russia, including the sanctions targeting Russia’s energy sector. The sanctions were adopted on July 31, 2014—by Council Regulation 833/2014 (the Regulation)—and extended on September 12, 2014.  As described in more detail in our recent client alert, the Regulation imposes a licensing requirement for … Continue Reading

The Road to Paris 2015: European Council Deal on Future Climate Change and Energy Policy

Last Thursday, the 28 Heads of State of the European Union meeting at the European Council reached a political agreement on the EU’s climate and energy framework for 2030.  The compromise is intended to send a signal in anticipation of the next United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (“UNFCCC”) Conference of Parties scheduled for … Continue Reading

EU Consultation on the Development of Criteria to Identify Endocrine Disruptors in Biocidal and Plant Protection Products

On September 26th the European Commission launched a public consultation on the development of criteria to identify endocrine disrupting chemicals in biocidal and plant protection products.  The consultation is open for contributions until January 16th, 2015, and its results may significantly impact a wide variety of products (e.g., cosmetics, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, consumer products) as … Continue Reading

The EU’s New Energy Efficiency Directive Becomes Applicable Across Europe

On June 5, 2014, the European Union’s Energy Efficiency Directive (“EED”) will become applicable in all EU Member States. This Directive establishes an EU-wide framework aimed at promoting energy efficiency and will provide important challenges and opportunities for companies doing business in Europe. What is the purpose of the Directive? The EED is one of … Continue Reading

“What’s in a Name?: Legal Implications of the EU Recommendation on Shale Gas”

While the European Commission’s Recommendation on Shale Gas of  January 22, 2014 is not legally binding, it may have different legal impacts on EU institutions and agencies as well as public authorities and private parties in the EU Member States.  The attached article published in the Environmental Law Reporter describes four different legal scenarios that could … Continue Reading

The UK Government pledges to cut green taxes, but at what cost to gas and electricity suppliers?

Governments globally are grappling with difficult decisions about green energy policies: maintain green initiatives or remove the strains on economic growth? It is interesting to look across the globe for examples of how different Governments are reacting. In recent months, the UK has opted to “tweak” its green levies to save households an anticipated average … Continue Reading

The New European Commission’s Communication and Recommendation on Shale Gas

On January 22, 2014, the European Commission published its Communication and Recommendation on Shale Gas.  The documents finally published are essentially the same as the draft versions that we reported in our blog post of January 17, 2014 and only introduce minor changes. Among other things, the Recommendation now confirms that it “neither implies that … Continue Reading

The Upcoming European Commission’s Recommendation on Shale Gas: A Transitional Political Compromise?

The European Commission is expected to adopt a communication and recommendation on the exploration and production of unconventional hydrocarbons (especially shale gas).  The draft communication and recommendation, which are still subject to change, are being discussed among the cabinets of the 28 Commissioners of the European Commission as part of the 2030 climate change package, … Continue Reading
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