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File Reducing climate impacts from international aviation: Europe leads the way
The European Commission is proposing legislation to bring the aviation sector into the European Union's pioneering emissions trading scheme (EU ETS) in order to control the rapid growth in CO2 emissions from air travel. Until now airlines have not been subject to the constraints on energy consumption or greenhouse gas emissions that other businesses have to live with. Emissions from domestic flights are covered by the Kyoto Protocol's emission targets for developed countries, but international aviation - which makes up the vast majority of flights - is not. In addition, jet fuel for international flights has historically been exempted from taxation. Hence the need for policy action.
Located in Environmental topics Climate change Multimedia
File Emissions trading
(This video has audio) An explanation of emissions trading. Source: EU Emissions Trading - An Open Scheme Promoting Global Innovation to Combat Climate Change (Nov. 2004), by the EU Publications Office
Located in Environmental topics Climate change Multimedia
File Effects of climate change
In the past 100 years, the number of cold and frost days has decreased in most parts of Europe, whereas the number of days with temperatures above 25°C and the number of heatwaves have increased. The frequency of very wet days has significantly decreased in recent decades in many places in southern Europe, but increased in mid and northern Europe. Cold winters are projected to disappear almost entirely by 2080 and hot summers are projected to become much more frequent. This will have a continuing effect on mountain regions. For every 1°C increase in temperature, the snowline rises by 150 metres. And by 2050, three-quarters of today's glaciers in parts of the Alps are expected to have disappeared. Source: State of the Environment Report No 1/2005 "The European environment - State and outlook 2005" (published 29 Nov 2005)
Located in Environmental topics Climate change Multimedia
File PostScript document Rising snowline in the Alps
(This video has no audio.) It is estimated that, as global warming proceeds, regions currently receiving snowfall will increasingly receive precipitation in the form of rain. For every 1ºC increase in temperature, the snowline rises by about 150 metres. As a result, less snow will accumulate at low elevations. As a consequence, nearly half of all ski resorts in Switzerland, and even more in Germany, Austria and the Pyrenees, will face difficulties in attracting tourists and winter sport enthusiasts in the future. Source: EEA Report No 2/2004 "Impacts of Europe's changing climate" (published 18 Aug 2004)
Located in Environmental topics Climate change Multimedia
File text/texmacs Carbon uptake by forests
(This video has no audio.) The uptake of carbon from the atmosphere by natural vegetation, soils, forests and agricultural land ('terrestrial biosphere') is an important part of the carbon cycle. Carbon uptake by vegetation can lessen the increasing concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere and in Europe can be increased by planting forests and other land management measures. But the additional potential storage capacity for the EU in forestry and agriculture is estimated to be relatively small, and climate change may cause more fires, pests and storm damage as well as increasing water stress, particularly in the Mediterranean area. These conditions would curtail plant growth and reduce the amount of carbon stored in the biosphere. Source: EEA Report No 2/2004 "Impacts of Europe's changing climate" (published 18 Aug 2004)
Located in Environmental topics Climate change Multimedia
File Water and hydroelectric power
Although hydroelectric power stations create power from a reusable resource, there are some concerns about their impact on water. They alter the flow and temperature regimes that destroy fish spawning areas, handicap fish migration, kill fish in turbines and dry out wetlands. They can also capture sediment and nutrients behind dams, which can reduce the fertility of the waters downstream and may also increase erosion of river banks. For instance dams have reduced the sediment carried into Lake Geneva by some 50 %. Climate change could also make many hydroelectric power plants less reliable in future as water availability changes. While some plants in northern Europe could generate more power, hydroelectric dams in Bulgaria, Portugal, Spain, Turkey and Ukraine could reduce output by 20-50 % because of declining rainfall. Source: State of the Environment Report No 1/2005 "The European environment - State and outlook 2005" (published 29 Nov 2005)
Located in Environmental topics Climate change Multimedia
File chemical/x-pdb 50 years of protecting Europe's environment
Today the European Union has the most environmentally friendly arsenal of rules in the world and has done more to tackle pressing ecological problems, such as climate change, than any other major power. But it has not always been like this. Caring for the environment did not feature in the Treaty of Rome, the document that gave birth to the modern day EU. Yet environmental problems were never far away. Europe’s love affair with the car was moving into top gear, industry was busy belching out pollutants and raw sewage was being pumped into our rivers and seas.
Located in Environmental topics Policy instruments Multimedia
File Expert interview: transport and environment
Peder Jensen, EEA transport and the environment expert. Transport is harmful to the environment in many different ways. The most visible effect of transport is some of the emissions that we see: we can see the exhaust gas coming out of a car and at certain times it's very dirty and very dark. It's a very visible way where it's harming the environment, harming the air that we are all breathing. But there are also effects that are not quite so visible - when we are burning fuel in our engines we are emitting a lot of different gases and some of them are invisible greenhouse gases that help trap the heat in the atmosphere to get the earth to go warmer. One of the other important effects of transport is the noise impact. Noise means that people have a hard time sleeping, that they therefore don't get the rest that they need. It also affects the animals, disturbs their life, if roads or railroads run through nature areas it therefore means a reduced quality of life for both animals and people. Finally, transport infrastructure has a tendency to fragment natural habitats for animals. Lots of animals are disturbed by roads, they cannot cross the road, they are either scared off by the noise or they can't find ways to cross these different infrastructures and this means that the habitats they are living in don't work so well for their reproduction.
Located in Environmental topics Transport Multimedia
File Troff document Curbing CO2 emissions from road transport
Road transport generates about one fifth of the EU's CO2 emissions, with passenger cars responsible for around 12%. This makes it the second most important source of greenhouse gases. Although there have been significant improvements over recent years in vehicle technology, these have not been enough to neutralise the effect of increases in traffic and car size.
Located in Environmental topics Transport Multimedia
File Halting the loss of Europe's biodiversity by 2010
42% of Europe’s native mammals are threatened with extinction, 43% of birds, 45% of butterflies, 52% of freshwater fish. The list goes on and makes terrifying reading. Worldwide, the loss of species is even more alarming.
Located in Environmental topics Biodiversity Multimedia
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