The newly elected Danish government faces the major task of fulfilling the objectives of the Danish Climate Act and ensuring that Denmark can be a climate frontrunner that can inspire the rest of the world. In its annual status report, the Danish Council on Climate Change (DCCC) takes stock of Danish climate policy, assessing whether current policy efforts demonstrate that Denmark will meet its national climate targets and its EU obligations, e.g. the obligations under the newly agreed burden sharing agreement and the Regulation on land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF). Finally, the report includes recommendations for policies and measures that the government should prioritise in the coming year.
Denmark’s current national climate targets include a target of a 50-54 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 compared to 1990, a reduction of 70 percent by 2030 and climate neutrality no later than 2050.
The DCCC commends the government for outlining a strategy for how to meet the 70 percent target, but, overall, the Council assesses that the government has not yet demonstrated that the targets are likely to be met. This is mainly due to a significant risk that several of the elements in the government’s strategy will not deliver the expected reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The Council also finds that even if national targets are met, this will not necessarily mean that Denmark also fulfils its new EU obligations. Most likely, Denmark needs to do more in the transport, agricultural and household sectors to also meet these obligations. Finally, the DCCC recommends that the coming year’s climate policy should focus on implementation of already agreed policies and measures and on addressing emissions from the agricultural sector.
The EEAC Network has a new coordinator. On the first of March, Fee Kirsch assumed her position in the Network. Her background is in Climate Policy and Transnational Governance. She holds a masters from the European University Institute in Florence. In 2021 she was first introduced to the Network while working for the German Sustainable Development Council. Since then, she has trained at the European Commission, working at DG CLIMA and volunteering at the We Are Tomorrow Global Partnership, a network of youth-led organisations campaigning for better climate policy and youth participation.
The EEAC Network has elected a new board. During the EEAC’s Annual Plenary Session (APS), member councils elected four new board members, and renewed the mandate of the current Chair. Arnau Queralt Bassa (CADS) will stay on as Chair. Katalin Sipos (NFFT) and Jan Verheeke (Minaraad) will assume the role of vice-chairs. Julia Hertin (SRU) and Folmer de Haan (Rli) make up the rest of the board. The newly elected board started its duties on 1 January 2023. Read More
SDG advisory bodies from more than 20 countries gathered in Cape Town, South Africa, in the context of the Global Forum Network Meeting 2022. The Global Forum is a network of multi-stakeholder bodies that accelerates SDG delivery through sharing experiences and jointly visioning forward across national perspectives. The EEAC Network is an active member of the Forum.
During this Network Meeting a joint call to action was discussed. Following the meeting the German Advisory Council for Sustainable Development (RNE) drafted a meeting report, and finalized the call to action. In the call to action representatives of advisory bodies that are part of the Global Forum, called for all governments and national stakeholder groups to support the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres’s proposals in “Our Common Agenda”. They also called on all respective national governments and other stakeholders to take bold action, by taking concrete steps at both national and local level and bridging them with international tools and mechanisms. Read More
The European food system does not deliver sustainable diets, with low environmental impacts which contribute to food and nutrition security and to a healthy life for present and future generations. To make the system more resilient, an EU Framework Law on Sustainable Food Systems should foster human and planetary health in a coherent and balanced approach between an agricultural supply policy, environmental policy and food (consumption) policy. A policy on a sustainable food system should direct the strong innovation capacity of actors away from ever lower food prices towards more sustainable farming, food processing and food consumption. However, a just transition is key: to the extent that healthy diets are not affordable for consumers compensation should be given by changes in minimum wages, social security or income taxes. This advice is given by a consortium of national advisory councils on environment and sustainable development, in an EEAC Network Position Paper on the framework law. Read More
The Federal Council for Sustainable Development in Belgium (FRDO-CFDD) together with Brussels Region Environment Council (RLBHG) published an own initiative opinion on biodiversity policy. The opinion was prepared by the “Biodiversity and Forests” and “International Relations” working groups and was approved by the FRDO-CFDD General Assembly by written procedure. The original language of this opinion is Dutch, the translation in English became available in November 2022. Read More
The EEACNetwork, together with the Belgian Federal Council for Sustainable Development (FRDO-CFDD), the German Advisory Council for Sustainable Development (RNE), and the Department of Sustainable Development from Romania organised a joint webinar “Implementing the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive: Opportunities and Challenges”. The webinar took place on October 13th.
The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive
A provisional political agreement on the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) has been reached at EU level. By implementing the CSRD, the EU intends to make ambitious but standardised and accessible sustainability reporting mandatory for more than 50,000 companies across EU Member States. After the official adoption of the CSRD at EU level (end of 2022), EU Member States will have eighteen months to integrate the CSRD into national law. The way in which Member States implement the Directive is expected to influence the extent to which the objectives of this European proposal are actually achieved.
During the webinar a panel of high level experts addressed the following issues: 1) Which aspects need to be taken into account to ensure that the ambitious goals of the CSRD can actually be achieved? 2) What leeway do the Member States have in the implementation process, and how big a risk is this? And 3) How can we learn from the implementation of the CSRD’s predecessor, the Non-Financial Reporting Directive?
The webinar provided guidance and recommendations for action in the final phase of the implementation of the CSRD, so that the transformative potential of the new Directive can be fully achieved.
We were pleased to have contributions from a variety of international policy makers, including: Tom Dodd, European Commission, DG FISMA, Karen Hofmans, the Federal Public Service Economy (Belgium), Jan Witzmann, the Federal Ministry of Justice (Germany), and László Borbély, State Councilor, the Romanian Prime Minister’s Office – Department of Sustainable Development (Romania).
How can science help to gear up the sustainability transition? How can we make sure policymakers have science-based advice available to them? Discussions at the 30th EEAC Annual Conference brought forward the importance of dialogue and cooperation in this critical decade of sustainability action. Time to move away from just talking the talk, and instead, walk the walk.
The Finnish scientific advisory councils – the Climate Change Panel, the Nature Panel and the Expert Panel for Sustainable Development – organised the European Environment and Sustainable Development Advisory Councils’ Network‘s (EEAC) 30th anniversary conference from 14th to 15th September in Helsinki and online. The conference brought together European experts to discuss how to advance the sustainability transition in Europe. The two-day conference gathered 130 international experts together in autumnal Helsinki and 200 people across Europe followed the discussions online.
The theme of the conference was the Critical Decade of Action. Experts from universities, research institutes, governments and the civil service deliberated on how to advance direct discussions between scientists and policymakers to push for a systemic and fair sustainability transition.
By learning from each other and discussing together, we can bridge the gap between science and policy. Keynotes and panel discussions highlighted the importance of interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral cooperation. Decision makers were presented with a plea from scientists – implementation is needed, instead of just inspired targets and speeches. We need explicit action to pave the way for reaching our climate, biodiversity and sustainability targets, both short and long-term.
In most discussions, the conclusion was that the alarming effects of climate change and the loss of biodiversity show an imminent need for a truly systemic change. The fairness of the sustainability transition must be guaranteed – giving people a say in the process is needed. At the EEAC conference we heard from for example high school students and how they are concerned for their future. In workshops we looked at how can young people be better involved in decision making processes. This kind of action and involvement is what we need in this critical decade.
Recordings of the keynote presentations are available HERE
In 2020, the Germany Advisory Council on the Environment (SRU) recommended aligning Germany’s climate targets with a CO2 budget. This budget was transparently derived from the targets of the Paris climate agreement. The analysis was widely received in Germany and also an important scientific basis of Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court’s historic decision on climate policy in 2021.
In June 2022, the SRU has updated the CO2 budget calculations and addressed a number of questions that came up in public discussion in an accessible Q&A format. This paper has now been published in English language.
Our latest figures show that Germany’s remaining fair CO2 budget for a 1.5°C path expires in 2031 and that for 1.75°C in 2040 (assuming linear reduction). According to our calculation, the current German Climate Change Act corresponds to a pathway which limits global warming to less than 2°C, but significantly more than 1.5°C. Read More