In 2010, the EEA produced its first assessment of global megatrends as part of its five-yearly assessment of the European environment’s state, trend and prospects (SOER 2010). In preparation for SOER 2015, the EEA updated each of the megatrends, providing a more detailed analysis based on the latest data. This publication is one of the 11 updates being published separately. In mid-2015 the chapters will be consolidated into a single EEA technical report.
The manufacturing industry in 11 countries (Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden) has achieved absolute decoupling of nutrient emissions from economic growth (GVA). A decrease in emissions coupled with a decrease in gross value added (GVA) occurred in the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Belgium and Finland. However, in all cases (except Finland), the rate of emissions decrease was greater than that of GVA. An increase in nutrient emissions, accompanying the growth in GVA, was observed in Slovakia and Poland.
These developments arise from different absolute levels of emissions intensities and depend on there being no major changes in data coverage - such as including more facilities in the most recent reporting year despite them already existing in the earliest reporting year - within the countries during the reporting period. It should be noted that, as some industrial emissions may vary considerably from year to year, the comparison of just two selected years might be subject to variations, and not be representative of a consistent trend.
The achievement of absolute decoupling of manufacturing industries' heavy metals emissions from economic growth (GVA) was observed again in 12 countries (Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden). A decrease in emissions, coupled with a decrease in GVA occurred in the United Kingdom, Italy and Belgium. In all cases, the decrease in the rate of emissions was greater than that of GVA (relative decoupling). An increase in emissions, despite a drop in GVA, was observed in Finland and France. Finally, a growth in emissions accompanying economic growth occurred in the manufacturing industry in Hungary.
Given the multiple factors that affect both sectoral GVA and the pollution pressure originating from manufacturing, it is complicated to draw direct relationships between these two variables. Some key descriptors, which could aid in explaining this behaviour, are the structure of the sector (e.g. facility size distribution, production technology, relative proportion reported as E-PRTR releases), the socioeconomic characteristics (e.g. salary levels) of the area and the policy and/or economic measures in place (e.g. treatment requirements, pollution charges, taxes). However, it must be noted that the specific context of each country could result in varying combinations of the factors mentioned and their aggregate effects.
The main pathway of marine non-indigenous species (NIS) introductions in Europe´s seas is shipping (51%) and the Suez Canal (37%), followed by aquaculture related activities (17%) and, to a much lesser extent, aquarium trade (3%) and inland canals (2%). This is a pattern observed in all regional seas, except for the Eastern Mediterranean where introductions via the Suez Canal exceed those by shipping.
Trends in pathways show an increasing rate of introductions by shipping and corridors (in particular the Suez canal) since the 1990´s, while aquaculture mediated introductions have been decreasing since the 2000´s. This can be attributed to the adoption of effective EU regulation. Aquarium trade emerges as a lower but increasing pathway since the 2000´s.
Available data show the seas around Europe currently harbor 1416 non-indigenous species (NIS), almost 81% (1143) of which have been introduced after 1950. These consist mostly of invertebrates (approx. 63%).
The rate of new introductions of NIS is continually increasing with 323 new species recorded since 2000 at a Pan-European level.
An increase in NIS introductions is observed for all regional seas. The most affected seas are in the Mediterranean, in particular in the Aegean-Levantine sea. In this region over 160 new species have been recorded from 2000 to 2010.