On 29 March, the Portuguese EU Council presidency officially launches the European Year of Rail. Germanwatch and other European NGOs have send an open letter to the Commission and the Portuguese presidency to call for a European rail renaissance. The EU and the member state governments need to use the European Year of Rail 2021 to give a boost to cross-border passenger rail, with the following measures:
The energy transition requires a restructuring of the energy system and, as a result of decentralisation, also increasing digitalisation to integrate all actors and make them more flexible. However, digitalisation can be shaped and should happen under ecological and social premises. In this paper we present the challenges and evince possible solutions.
As a response to the Covid-19 crisis the EU has agreed on a historic recovery package of 750€ Billion, which includes funds for EU member states. In order to apply for financial support, EU member states need to provide Recovery and Resilience Plans. They may take into consideration country-specific recommendations, developed annually to address macroeconomic imbalance issues among EU Member States as identified within the European Semester.
In the last year, the German government held intense and controversial discussions on the introduction and design of national due diligence regulation. However, environmental aspects of corporate due diligence were given little attention. By contrast, the debate at European level is already much more progressive. On January 27, the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament explicitly recommended the inclusion of independent environmental due diligence requirements in a future European due diligence legislation.
To this date, environmental due diligence has hardly been integrated into legislations and it is not yet as concrete as UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights are in regard to human rights concerning responsibilities of corporations. Human rights due diligence captures environmental destruction when it is directly linked to human rights violation like a toxic spillage, which directly causes death or health issues.
In addition to amplifying extreme weather events, climate change also causes or intensifies slow-onset processes such as sea-level rise, desertification, biodiversity loss or permafrost thaw. Both types of climate change impacts cause loss and damage, impede the enjoyment of human rights and can be drivers for human mobility. In contrast to extreme weather events, dealing with loss and damage caused by slow-onset processes in the context of climate change is still neglected, both at the national and international level.