Climate change: new rules for companies to stop EU-driven deforestation globally

Read the full story from the European Union.

To fight climate change and biodiversity loss globally, Environment MEPs want only deforestation-free products to be allowed on the EU market.

The Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee today adopted its position with 60 votes to 2 and 13 abstentions on the Commission proposal for a regulation on deforestation-free products to halt EU-driven global deforestation.

The new law would make it obligatory for companies to verify (so-called “due diligence”) that goods sold in the EU have not been produced on deforested or degraded land. This would assure consumers that the products they buy do not contribute to the destruction of forests outside the EU, including of irreplaceable tropical forests, and hence reduce the EU’s contribution to climate change and biodiversity loss globally.

MEPs also want companies to verify that goods are produced in accordance with human rights protected under international law and the rights of indigenous people in addition to the relevant laws and standards in the country where the products are produced.

Swedish Space Corporation partners with Boliden to reduce emission footprint using satellite data

Read the full story at SatNews.

Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) and the Swedish mining and metals company, Boliden, have entered into a partnership to track and reduce emissions from smelters.

Denmark to roll out new state-run climate label for food

Read the full story at Food Tank.

Denmark will establish a state-controlled climate label in order to help residents purchase more environmentally-friendly foods.

According to a report by the Danish Council on Climate change, the average Dane can reduce the environmental impact of their diet by 31-45 percent if they follow Denmark’s dietary guidelines. These guidelines are based on the EAT-Lancet diet—a diet designed with human and planetary health in mind—and they will inform the creation of the country’s new climate label.

In a press release, Rasmus Prehn, the Danish Minister of Food, Agriculture, and Fisheries, notes that consumers can often access information around nutrition contents, animal welfare practices, and organic certification. But it is more difficult to determine whether foods are climate friendly. For this reason, Prehn states, “Denmark must now have a state-controlled climate label.”

Can carbon capture systems make incinerators a net-zero solution? European operators aim to find out.

Read the full story at Waste Dive.

Climate goals are inspiring European operators to explore new technologies for their emissions, yet the environmental and financial outcomes remain to be seen.

Why Europe is becoming a heat wave hot spot

Read the full story in the New York Times.

Two months ago, France experienced its hottest May on record, with record highs in some cities. Last month, France was blistered again, by a spring heat wave that also affected Spain, Italy and other countries. Then, this month, Poland and other parts of Eastern Europe suffered during a spell of extreme heat.

Now temperatures across Europe are soaring yet again, at or near triple digits from Spain to the British Isles and spreading east. Wildfires stoked by the heat are burning in many countries, and much of the continent is in the throes of a lengthy drought.

And there are still two months of summer left.

Scientists say the persistent extreme heat already this year is in keeping with a trend. Heat waves in Europe, they say, are increasing in frequency and intensity at a faster rate than almost any other part of the planet, including the Western United States.

Global warming plays a role, as it does in heat waves around the world, because temperatures are on average about 2 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius) higher than they were in the late 19th century, before emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases became widespread. So extreme heat takes off from a higher starting point.

But beyond that, there are other factors, some involving the circulation of the atmosphere and the ocean, that may make Europe a heat wave hot spot.

Frontiers is first publisher to join ‘Stick to Science’ initiative

Read the full story at Research Information.

Frontiers has become the first publisher to join the ‘Stick to Science’ initiative to support open scientific collaboration.  

Initiated by Universities UK, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), public research university ETH Zurich, the ETH Board, Wellcome and The Royal Society, the ‘Stick to Science’ campaign calls for an open, inclusive, and collaborative research and innovation landscape in Europe that is free from political barriers.

The initiative comes off the back of uncertainties over the UK and Switzerland’s participation in Horizon Europe, the EU’s €95.5 billion research and innovation program. The UK’s relationship with Horizon Europe remains trapped in post-Brexit arrangements, while Switzerland is locked out of parts of the program, pending further government talks. In both cases, efficient science collaboration continues to be stalled by politics.   

Switzerland and the UK, two of the best performing science systems in the world, are long-standing and academically important partners in Europe’s research and innovation landscape. However, some of the best minds of the British and Swiss institutions are currently unable to fully and efficiently contribute to Europe’s science and research as a result of the ongoing uncertainty.  These circumstances are hindering some of Europe’s top scientists from working together to tackle looming global challenges such as climate change, pandemics, sustainability, energy and food security.  

EU science ministers agree on research assessment reform

Read the full story at Science Business.

EU science ministers today signed off an agreement backing research assessment reform in Europe, alongside conclusions on open science, international cooperation and Horizon Europe missions.

In a meeting in Luxembourg, the 27 ministers acknowledged it’s time for the EU to revamp how it evaluates research, putting more weight into the quality of research outcomes rather than qualitative indicators such as journal impact factors and number of citations.

Ministers acknowledged that national research organisations are already taking steps to improve they way they assess research, the reforms do not happen fast enough, and efforts remain fragmented.  

Wild mammals are making a comeback in Europe thanks to conservation efforts

Read the full story at Our World in Data.

By the first half of the 20th century, many of Europe’s mammals had been reduced to just a fraction of their historical levels. Millennia of hunting, exploitation, and habitat loss had forced them into decline. Many had been wiped out completely.

But most mammal populations have seen a dramatic increase over the last 50 years. 

In 2013, a coalition of conservation organizations – including the Zoological Society of London; Birdlife International; and Rewilding Europe – published a report on how mammal populations across Europe had changed since 1960.3 They looked at the change in populations of 18 mammal species. The results are shown in the chart.

New tool to increase social acceptance of solar parks

Read the full story in pv magazine.

Thanks to a traceability tool, individuals, companies and local authorities who have signed an electricity supply contract with French energy provider Volterres can monitor in real time the source of their electricity supply, and in particular the share of electricity coming directly from renewable energy plants located nearby.

What does the European Commission Circular Economy Action Plan mean for the packaging sector?

Read the full story at Packaging Europe.

In a stark warning to the packaging industry, experts are predicting that the EU’s new Circular Economy Action Plan could lead to unprecedented disruption in the sector. Paul Foulkes-Arellano, founder of Circuthon Consulting, tells us more – and discusses how businesses can get ahead of the curve.