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You are here: Home / News / Economic growth must be decoupled from environmental harm – the EEA evaluates findings from 2011

Economic growth must be decoupled from environmental harm – the EEA evaluates findings from 2011

Europe’s impact on the environment is still very much linked to the economy. This message was clear in many of the reports and datasets published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) in 2011, as analysts were able to clearly see a decrease in various emissions and types of environmental damage during the 2009 recession.

Many different environmental analyses carried out in 2011 once again demonstrated that environmental harm falls when economic growth slows down. We need to break this link between environmental damage and economic growth if we are to achieve continued prosperity, without destroying the natural systems that sustain us.

EEA Executive Director Jacqueline McGlade

European Union Member States often take a year or more to fully collect and collate environmental data  – so many reports published in 2011 considered data from 2009 and 2010. This means that EEA experts in many cases were not able to see the full effect of the 2009 recession on the environment until now.

“Many different environmental analyses carried out in 2011 once again demonstrated that environmental harm falls when economic growth slows down,” EEA Executive Director Jacqueline McGlade said. “We need to break this link between environmental damage and economic growth if we are to achieve continued prosperity, without destroying the natural systems that sustain us. “

The shift to a ‘green economy’ which does not damage the environment looks set to dominate environmental discussions next year. In June 2012, government representatives from around the world will meet in Rio de Janeiro, 20 years after the first historic Earth Summit – and the EEA will support the negotiations with the latest environmental information. To support better information sharing, the EEA has launched a new version of the Eye on Earth global public information service.

Information sharing is becoming an increasingly important part of modern life. Eye on Earth allows anyone to make maps and other visualisations using data from many different global, national and local organisations. Once new data or information is entered into the system in one place, it has a potentially global reach, combining with new information across different networks to build an ever-more detailed and accurate picture of our world.

Pollution rebounds with the economy

Other findings from the EEA in 2011

 

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