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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
File Protecting the tree of life
Europe is a continent of breathtaking natural beauty and dramatic contrasts. The EU’s 27 Member States stretch from the frozen Arctic Circle in the north to the warm Mediterranean waters in the south. From the wave-lashed Atlantic coast in Ireland to the snow-capped Carpathian mountains in Romania, the EU includes a vast range of natural habitats and a great diversity of flora and fauna. Our natural heritage includes several thousand types of habitat, 520 species of bird, 10 000 plant species and at least 100 000 species of invertebrate. Yet, in comparison with other regions in the world, these numbers are relatively modest. Europe is the most urbanized and densely populated continent in the world. It is also one of the most polluted. These factors have taken their toll on the natural environment.
Located in Environmental topics Biodiversity Multimedia
File Turning waste into resources
As Europe grows wealthier it creates more and more rubbish. Every man, woman and child in the EU generates over a kilo of waste every day. Multiply that figure by nearly half a billion EU citizens and it quickly becomes clear that managing our waste without harming the environment is a major headache.
Located in Environmental topics Waste and material resources Multimedia
File Power to the people: Environmental Atlas of Europe — Denmark
Thisted in north west Jutland is the most climate-friendly municipality in Denmark. Since the early 1980s, they've been using a creative mix of sustainable energy sources to provide heating and power for their 46,000 residents. In recognition of their contribution to renewable energy they were awarded the European Solar Prize in 2007.
Located in The Environmental Atlas Power to the people Video
Figure European average air temperature anomalies (1850 to 2011) in °C over land areas only, for annual (upper), winter (middle) and summer (lower) periods
European average air temperature anomalies (1850 to 2011) in °C over land areas only, for annual (upper), winter (middle) and summer (lower) periods relative to pre-industrial baseline period. 1) Black line - HadCRUT3 from the UK Met Office Hadley Centre and University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit, baseline period 1850-1899 (Brohan et al., 2006) with the grey area representing the 95% confidence range, 2) Red line – MLOST from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Climatic Data Centre, baseline period 1880-1899 (Smith et al., 2008), and 3) Blue line - GISSTemp from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Institute for Space Studies, baseline period 1880-1899 (Hansen et al., 2010).
Located in Data and maps Maps and graphs
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