EEAC member councils: Latest publications

EEAC member councils are tasked to advise their governments and parliaments on issues related to the environment and sustainable development. On this page you will find the latest publications by EEAC member councils

Making hydrogen a sustainable decarbonisation option

The German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE) issued a recommendation to the Federal government in response to the government’s National Hydrogen Strategy. In its recommendation RNE argues that if fossil energy from coal, oil and gas is to be almost entirely replaced by renewable energy sources by 2050 at the latest, hydrogen needs to be made a partner to the renewable energies in order to achieve sector coupling and storage, and thus also both security of supply and sustainable prices. RNE does not consider an energy transition based solely on electrification to be realisable. Electrons and molecules are consequently a necessary synthesis for a promising energy transition within industry and society. The RNE therefore fundamentally welcomes the National Hydrogen Strategy adopted by the Federal Government on 10 June 2020 and explicitly supports the establishment of a hydrogen industry being given a major boost in the stimulus package. RNE does, however, recommend that the proposed measures be substantiated in the upcoming implementation process and that they be turned into political action quickly and based on partnership. The RNE believes it is time to think big and act swiftly. At the same time, the council is aware that some of the issues such as the establishment of international partnerships, the reduction of carbon emissions and the needs-based availability of hydrogen still need to be discussed and negotiated in detail.

Making hydrogen a sustainable decarbonisation option

For an efficient and area effective insect protection

Insects are essential components of ecosystems. They provide many services on which we rely and from which we benefit every day, for example the pollination of crops or biological pest control. Data shows a serious loss of insects, the most species-rich class of animals. A further loss of insects and thus fundamental ecosystem services would have far-reaching negative consequences, also for human well-being as well as the environment. The decline is the result of complex, often cumulative factors. Agriculture is a major contributor to this decline. Two of the most important reasons are the widespread and increasing impoverishment of the landscape structure and the input of nutrients and pesticides. In order to stop the loss of insects, the use of plant protection products and nutrients has to be reduced and monotonous landscapes have to be enriched with small structures such as hedges, trees and field margins. Furthermore, extensive grassland needs to be protected and used sustainably.

For an efficient and area effective insect protection

Sustainable supply chains

In this latest publication the German Council for Sustainable Development (RNE) shares recommendation for effectively embedding sustainability and human rights in global supply chains. The publication followed an update of the German National Sustainable Development Strategy . In the course of updating this strategy the German Federal Government replaced the existing management rules with six principles of sustainable development. These principles are as follows: 1. Systematic application across the board of sustainable development as a guiding principle 2. Assumption of responsibility globally 3. Safeguarding of natural resources as foundation for a good life 4. Strengthening of sustainable business practice 5. Protection and improvement of social cohesion in an open society 6. Use of education, science and innovation as drivers of sustainable development Principles 2–4 in particular are the main focus of this recommendation. The RNE is advocating that due diligence regarding social and environmental aspects be embedded in globally linked supply chains and business relations by means of a smart mix. This smart mix comprises legal requirements and mandatory framework conditions, the outlining of minimum standards as well as voluntary initiatives in the business world and civil society.

Sustainable supply chains

Towards an ambitious environmental policy in Germany and Europe

Against the background of the Corona pandemic, climate change and biodiversity loss are currently receiving less attention. However, the long-term threat to the natural foundations of life persists. With this Environmental Report, the SRU is addressing environmental policy topics which require urgent action. The current crisis has revealed that our lives and economic activities are vulnerable to a previously unsuspected degree. As different as the two crises are, one thing they have in common is that they can only be overcome through collective and decisive action. The resuscitation of the economy which is now required should be used to find new ways of doing things. In Germany as well as in the EU, it is important that the political system proves it is capable of taking action in response to the enormous ecological and economic challenges. The report focuses on the following themes: climate policy, the circular economy, water protection, sustainable neighbourhood development, noise regulation,, urban mobility and the future of EU environmental policy.

Towards an ambitious environmental policy in Germany and Europe

Six paths towards sustainability: a toolkit to promote a systemic transformation towards sustainable development in Finland

The Global Sustainable Development Report shows that we are heading towards the sustainable development goals of Agenda 2030, but much too slowly. Inequality is increasing, climate change is advancing, biodiversity is decreasing, and waste volumes are growing. These phenomena are affected by several interconnected factors. However, we can change course if we identify the interlinkages between the aforementioned problems and steer our societies comprehensively in a more sustainable direction. The Finnish Expert Panel on Sustainable Development has now published recommendations that focus more closely on what these interlinkages mean in the Finnish context and what actions need to be taken.

Six paths towards sustainability: a toolkit to promote a systemic transformation towards sustainable development in Finland

Approaches to Transition

This latest paper by the Irish National Economic and Social Council (NESC) is part of the Councils 'work on transitions and looks in particular at how transitions are approached elsewhere and the range of perspectives at play. The paper reviews the practical tools and conceptual approaches being used to support transition, with particular focus on international experience in  managing downside risks that disproportionately affect specific cohorts of workers or communities. It provides  an improved understanding of the practical ways and strategies that support and build resilience for those most challenged by Ireland’s low-carbon and digital transitions.

Approaches to Transition

Known paths and new tracks to 70% reduction

By 2030, Denmark has to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 70% compared to the level in 1990. The 70% target corresponds to what is needed if Denmark is to contribute to limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The agreement on the new Climate Act emphasises the political priority for Denmark to work actively to meet this target. One of the most important tasks of the Danish Council on Climate Change in regards to the new Climate Act is to advise the government, on how Denmark can best meet its national climate targets and international climate commitments. For this reason, in the years to come, the Danish Council on Climate Change will focus on how Denmark can achieve the 70% target in 2030. This report is the first step in that process.

Known paths and new tracks to 70% reduction

A Framework for Danish climate policy – input for a new Danish climate act with global perspectives

A majority of the Danish Parliament (Folketing) has decided that Denmark had to have a new climate act. The aim of such new climate act was to support and steer the Danish transition towards a climate neutral society by the middle of this century. Following this ambition, the Danish Council on Climate Change published a study entitled A Framework for Danish climate policy – input for a new Danish climate act with global perspectives. The report examines the need for national climate policy goals as well as whether these targets can be considered as being consistent with The Paris Agreement. When Denmark adopted its new climate action on December 6th it appeared that the act coincided with many of the recommendations given by the Danish Council on Climate Change in their report. Now, the report is available in English

A Framework for Danish climate policy – input for a new Danish climate act with global perspectives

Addressing Employment Vulnerability as Part of a Just Transition

Countries across the globe are grappling with the shifts and challenges of climate change and environmental degradation and other transformative megatrends, such as urbanisation, population growth and globalisation. This is in the context of everincreasing sophisticated technological and digitalisation developments. This report addresses two of these interconnected transitions, net zero carbon and digital, which, while challenging, also present economic and societal opportunities. The Irish Government asked the National Economic and Social Council (NESC) to examine the specific issue of the vulnerability for workers, firms and sectors caused by these two transitions, and to provide recommendations. The Council has done that and sets out its findings and suggestions here, but in doing so has also concluded that addressing vulnerability must be part of a wider vision, a direction of travel for where Ireland wants to get to.

Addressing Employment Vulnerability as Part of a Just Transition

A grip on hazardous substances

Over the course of several decades, government policy successfully reduced the occurrence of hazardous substances in the physical environment, but of late this development is stagnating. The number of hazardous substances is increasing, as is the number of products that contain them. As a result, these substances are accumulating in the physical environment, giving rise to new risks and incidents. in it's report the Dutch Council for the environment and infrastructure (Rli) argues that current policies on hazardous substances are not sufficient to adequately control the risks to people and the physical environment. The use and number of hazardous substances is increasing, as is the reuse of products containing such substances. New policy is needed if we are to get a grip on hazardous substances. Furthermore, the Rli makes 10 recommendations to effectuate a better grip on the dispersion of substances within the environment, reduce the adverse effects of cumulative exposure and move towards a safe circular economy by 2050. The recommendations are partly aimed at involving social parties more actively in assessing the usefulness and necessity of chemical substances. This requires greater transparency. Knowing which substances are in which products and what risks are involved is crucial to achieve safe closed-loop systems.

A grip on hazardous substances

Towards a sustainable economy: The governance of transitions

Climate change, raw materials scarcity and loss of biodiversity make the transition to a sustainable economy inevitable. How can the government steer the transition to a sustainable economy? The Dutch government has an essential part to play in steering the transition towards a sustainable economy. The governance options available to national, regional and local government are the subject of this advice. In the report the Council for the Environment and Infrastructure uses academic insights on the governance of transitions to analyse Dutch policy and practice in three topical policy areas: the energy transition, the raw materials transition and the food transition. Drawing on this analysis, the Council formulates a number of points for consideration and makes recommendations for the governance of sustainability transitions by national government.

Towards a sustainable economy: The governance of transitions

A European Way to our Common Digital Future

Germany should build upon the Green Deal announced by EU Commission President-designate Ms. von der Leyen and work towards a close integration of digital change and sustainability. To this end the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) presents cornerstones of a European way to a common digital future. In its Policy Paper, WBGU argues that particularly during its presidency of the Council of the EU in 2020, Germany’s Federal Government should work towards a close integration of digital change and the Transformation towards Sustainability. The new EU Parliament and the new European Commission should also pursue this goal, according to WBGU. In the Policy Paper, WBGU presents seven recommendations: 1) Integrate the opportunities and risks of digitalization into EU sustainability policy; 2) Actively shape digital policy in line with sustainability goals; 3) Involve the private sector more in the provision of data; 4) Develop and apply artificial intelligence in a sustainable way; 5) Ensure access to digital commons and basic services through public-service information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructures; 6) Gear EU research policy and promotion of innovations consistently towards sustainability goals, and 7) European digitalization model as a priority in foreign policy.

A European Way to our Common Digital Future

CNADS’ Stance on the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (NECPs)

The National Portuguese Council for Environment and Sustainable Development (CNADS) created a Working Group (WG) with the objective of elaborating a Stance on the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (NECPs). This Stance briefly analyses the main lines of reflection and action advanced by the NECPs and includes 1. An elaboration process of the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan; 2. An analysis of its general objectives and issues; 3. a characterisation of the current situation of the national energy sector and defined objectives for 2020; 4. A strategy for 2030; and touches upon the issue of energy poverty. The CADS NECP Working Group was coordinated by Counsellor João Guerreiro and included Counsellors Luísa Schmidt, Eugénio Sequeira, Jaime Braga, João Joanaz de Melo, José Guerreiro dos Santos and Nuno Ribeiro da Silva.

CNADS’ Stance on the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (NECPs)

Proposal on the protection of natural heritage and the sustainable use of natural resources

The Hungarian National Council for Sustainable Development (NFFT) urges to promote social agreement in order to protect natural resources and their services essential for human existence and to maintain social prosperity thus serving the public good. This proposal exclusively focuses on the natural, environmental aspects of the sustainability shift but we would like to stress that the centre point of the National Framework Strategy on Sustainable Development is people and that the Council has always emphasized the crucial importance of the human and social dimension of sustainable development including the significance of common values and communities based on solidarity and love, in the transition to sustainability. Read the whole publication through the link below.

Proposal on the protection of natural heritage and the sustainable use of natural resources