22 Oct 2020, 09:05

What’s next in Europe? – Timeline of European climate and energy policy

EU
Journalists! Mark your calendars – or rather let us do it for you. Europe is complicated and even journalists from EU member states sometimes struggle to understand how climate and energy policy is made, and when institutions take key decisions. This timeline flags key European energy and climate reporting events and developments and includes concise background information necessary to jump-start your coverage. [Update adds agenda for ENVI 23 October, climate adaptation summit]

You can find more information on European climate and energy events and developments in the European Parliament’s European Green Deal legislative train schedule, in the event calendar of the German Council presidency, and in the Council’s press calendar.

2020

 

Date 23 October
Event Environment Council
Subject

In Luxembourg, EU environment ministers will talk about the EU climate law and the 2030 target. From the agenda: "The Environment Council will begin with a discussion, in public session, on the European climate law. The aim of the discussion is to make as much progress as possible at this stage on this regulation, by aiming to reach a partial Council negotiating position, pending a decision by the European Council on the updated EU 2030 climate target." This means the Council may adopt conclusions with a political position on the climate law – it is the body to make the formal decision. However, the heads of state and government are expected to actually decide on the 2030 target - a highly political issue - before environment ministers sign off at their next meeting in December. Under any other business, the Polish delegation will present its proposal for improvements to the EU emissions trading system to drive the transformation towards climate neutrality in the EU. The Netherlands delegation will inform ministers on the Climate adaptation summit which is scheduled for 25 January 2021. This is one of four annual meetings.

Press contact Katharina Pausch-Homblé, European Council; Stephan Gabriel Haufe, German Council presidency

 

Date 10-11 December
Event European Council
Subject Should leaders not find an agreement on raising the 2030 climate target beforehand, as is likely, this meeting is probably the last chance to do so still by the end of 2020. The German Council presidency said it wanted an agreement at least among member state governments by the end of 2020. In addition, the Commission has said it wants the EU to send a climate action signal with updated NDCs (nationally determined contributions) to the world community well before COP26 in Glasgow and new 2030 target would be an essential element of this.
Press contact Barend Leyts, European Council

 

Date 12 December
Event 5th anniversary Paris Agreement, global climate event by UK/UN
Subject Fifth anniversary of the day the gavel fell at the UN climate change conference in Paris in 2015. With the COVID-19 pandemic having disrupted plans to hold the annual international UN climate meeting - known as the COP - this year, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom have announced that they will instead co-host a “landmark global event” on 12 December.
Press contact UNFCCC

 

Date 17 December
Event Environment Council
Subject Should a decision on the climate law and the 2030 target not be made in October already, this meeting is another chance to do so. This is one of four annual meetings.
Press contact Katharina Pausch-Homblé, European Council

 

Date End of 2020 > likely postponed to 2021
Event 6th  African Union-European Union Summit
Subject Every three years, the AU-EU summit brings together EU and African leaders to define the future direction for cooperation between the two continents. Due to COVID-19, the summit will likely be postponed to 2021.
Press contact Barend Leyts, European Council

 

 

2021

Date Sometime in 2021 (tbc)
Event Additional UN climate talks
Subject Key UN climate bodies usually meet twice a year – once in Bonn to prepare the big UN climate conference, and then at varying locations. Media reported possible additional UNFCCC climate talks to make up for time and talks lost to the coronavirus pandemic. These could mean the EU wants as much as possible done by then to spearhead its global climate action drive ahead of COP26 in Glasgow. A decision/date has not been set.
Press contact UNFCCC

 

Date 2021
Event Start of ordinary operation NordLink
Subject The first direct connection between power markets in Germany and Norway, the 623 kilometre long 1,400 MW high-voltage DC “NordLink” is currently being tested. It is supposed to increase supply security and enable the exchange of renewable energy, in particular hydropower and wind energy, between the two countries. Testing of the interconnector will continue until December 2020, before NordLink is put into full trial operation. Ordinary operations start in 2021. The NordLink project is owned 50 percent by Norwegian TSO Statnett and 50 percent by German partners TenneT and KfW.
Press contact Mathias Fischer, TenneT

 

Date 1 January
Event Brexit – end of transition period
Subject With negotiations on a post-Brexit trade deal hanging in the balance in September 2020, it is unclear how the UK’s withdrawal will affect the EU’s climate and energy policy after 1 January 2021, when the transition period ends. Some major changes, however, are clear already, such as that the UK is set to leave the EU Emissions Trading System, with plans to set up its own system. Overall, the UK has been among the more ambitious countries regarding greenhouse gas reductions, meaning others will now have to do more if the overall targets remain the same.
Press contact Daniel Sheridan Ferrie, European Commission

 

Date 25 January
Event Climate adaptation summit
Subject The Netherlands government will host an online international Climate Adaptation Summit.
Press contact Roel Vincken, infrastructure ministry

 

Date latest by June
Event European Commission presents draft legislation to increase 2030 target: "Fit for 55 Package"
Subject

Raising the 2030 climate target requires a set of actions across all sectors of the economy. Basically, all major energy and climate legislation will have to be amended and the Commission plans to present its proposals by June 2021. Pieces of legislation the Commission will review to implement this increased ambition include: the EU Emissions Trading System; the Effort Sharing Regulation; the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry Regulation; the Energy Efficiency Directive; the Renewable Energy Directive; and the CO2 Emissions Performance Standards for Cars and Vans Regulation, as well as the planned carbon border adjustment mechanism Find more details here. As part of this process, the Commission will review impacts at the level of member states and consider distribution-related issues. An important consideration in this context will be how revenues from carbon pricing are distributed between member states and the EU as own resources.

Press contact Tim McPhie, European Commission

 

Date 1st and 2nd quarter 2021
Event European Commission presents policy plans and legislation drafts on biodiversity
Subject

The Commission aims to present an action plan for the development of organis production, a zero pollution action plan for water, air and soil, and a legislation draft on minimising the risk of deforestation and forest degradation associated with products placed on the EU market.

Press contact Tim McPhie, European Commission

 

Date 2nd quarter 2021
Event European Commission presents sustainable finance legislation
Subject

The Commission aims to establish a green bond standard. Later, planned for the fourth quarter, it will present plans to revise the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive and Regulation.

Press contact Tim McPhie, European Commission

 

Date 3rd and 4th quarter 2021
Event European Commission presents proposals on sustainable and smart mobility
Subject

The Commission aims to present a proposal to revise the Directive on Intelligent Transport Systems, including a multimodal ticketing initiative and the Regulation on the trans-European transport network (TEN-T), an EU 2021 Rail Corridor Initiative, and it wants to develop post-Euro 6/VI emission standards for cars, vans, lorries and buses.

Press contact Tim McPhie, European Commission

 

Date 4th quarter 2021
Event European Commission presents further draft legislation from "Fit for 55 Package"
Subject

Raising the 2030 climate target requires a set of actions across all sectors of the economy. Basically, all major energy and climate legislation will have to be amended and the Commission plans to present most of its proposals by June 2021. Some proposals, however, will be put forth in the fourth quarter: a revision of the energy performance of Buildings Directive, and a revision of the Third Energy Package for gas to regulate competitive decarbonised gas markets.

Press contact Tim McPhie, European Commission

 

Date 4th quarter 2021
Event European Commission presents draft legislation on circular economy
Subject

The European Commission is set to present legislation for its circular economy package. This includes a sustainable products policy initiative, including a revision of the Ecodesign Directive, and a proposal on circular electronics.

Press contact Tim McPhie, European Commission

 

Date 1- 12 November
Event UN climate change conference COP 26
Subject  Many see the 2021 United Nations climate change conference COP26 in Glasgow as the most important COP (Conference of the Parties) since 2015, when the landmark Paris Agreement was adopted. COP26 has been postponed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Thus, it will now take place after the ‘by 2020’ deadline for numerous components of the Paris Agreement, such as delivering updated nationally determined contributions (NDCs). COPs are usually attended by national ministers and heads of state.
Press contact UNFCCC

 

 

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