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Substantial progress in cutting greenhouse gas emissions, air and other pollutants, and improving energy and material efficiency, needs to be complemented by more actions by EU Member States to fully apply agreed-to policies to better protect biodiversity, natural resources, and people’s health. These are the key findings of a new European Environment Agency (EEA) report which reviews key trends and outlook towards achieving EU 2020 environmental objectives.
Land degradation and taking land for urban development threaten critical ecosystem services, including provision of food and water, climate regulation and recreation. A new report, by the European Environment Agency (EEA), shows how land recycling, such as reusing neglected sites and turning roads or parking lots to green spaces or residential areas, can have positive impacts on the environment and support Europe’s transition towards a circular and green economy.
Achieving the European Union’s long-term objective of shifting to a sustainable, low-carbon future will be a massive undertaking. It will require fundamental changes in how we live, produce goods and consume. A new joint report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Environment Information and Observation Network (Eionet) explores the innovations and new knowledge that can catalyse and guide transitions. It further investigates how the EEA and Eionet can help support such change.
The EU Member States have lowered their energy consumption in recent years, despite a slight increase in 2015. At the same time, they use more and more renewable energy. Overall, the 28 Member States are collectively well on their way to meeting their 2020 targets on renewables, energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions. However, continuing current trends will fall short of longer term objectives, according to a new European Environment Agency (EEA) assessment published today.
Modern society depends on the movement of goods and people, but our current transport systems have negative impacts on human health and the environment. We spoke to Magdalena Jóźwicka, project manager of an upcoming report on electric vehicles, about the environmental advantages and challenges of using electricity as an alternative to conventional fuels for vehicles.
Last December in Paris, the world set itself an ambitious target: limiting the global average temperature rise well below 2 degrees, while aiming to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. At the G20 summit earlier this month, China and the United States announced their formal commitment to join the Paris agreement. This is a major step forward for the international effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming. Nevertheless, the current reduction commitments made so far by signatory countries are not sufficient to meet this ambitious target.
Ingredients for the meals we eat at home or in restaurants come from near and afar. In an increasingly urbanised and globalised world, the food produced in the countryside needs to be transported to the city. Much focus has been put on reducing ‘food miles’, which can be a relevant but sometimes limited concept. A smarter and cleaner transport system would solve only part of the issue. A wider systemic analysis of the entire food system is in order.
Transport networks have become a commonplace feature of the European landscape. They connect people, boost economic activity and provide access to key services, but they also introduce barriers between natural areas, while their use emits pollutants and introduces non-local species to ecosystems. Strong policy measures and a network of green spaces can help preserve and protect Europe’s natural wealth.
Environmental indicator report 2016 — In support to the monitoring of the 7th Environment Action ProgrammePublication 09 Dec 2016
This report examines if the EU and its immediate neighbours are on target to achieving by 2020 the three thematic priority objectives (natural capital; resource efficiency and low carbon economy; health and well-being) of the 7th Environment Action Programme. It does that with the help of a set of selected indicators and other information. The report also highlights the role of eco-innovation and green finance to enable meeting aspects of the resource efficiency and low carbon economy priority objective.
Land take, or the change from non-artificial to artificial land cover, reflects on-going and often conflicting claims on land. Some of the land that is 'taken' for urban development is covered with an impervious surface, which severely hampers ecosystem functioning and the related delivery of ecosystem services. However, when land is 'recycled', land that was developed in the past and has become available for redevelopment again is reused. Urban densification, or infilling, can also prevent the consumption of land that may be very valuable for food production or recreation. In this report, the processes of recycling and densification are jointly referred to as 'land recycling in its broad sense'. Land recycling can be considered a response to the on-going pressures we as a society apply to our land resources, particularly in the urban fringe.
This report was developed in cooperation with the European Environment Information and Observation Network (Eionet) — a partnership network of the EEA and its member and cooperating countries involving more than 1 000 experts and 350 national institutions across Europe. Drawing on evidence collected from across the network, the report represents an initial attempt to explore what the concepts of sustainability transitions and transformations mean in practice, and how the EEA and Eionet can help develop the knowledge needed to support systemic change in Europe. Case studies are used to explain and illustrate key concepts and to give a sense of what activities are already under way at local levels. The report concludes with reflections from the EEA's Scientific Committee and Executive Director, which provide further insights into the new knowledge needs and the potential role of the EEA and Eionet in responding to them.
Trends and projections in Europe 2016 - Tracking progress towards Europe's climate and energy targetsPublication 01 Dec 2016
The 2016 edition of the annual EEA report, Trends and projections in Europe, provides an updated assessment of the progress of the EU and European countries towards their climate mitigation and energy targets.