The decline of wild vertebrate species between 1970 and 2006 is especially severe in the tropics (59 %) and in freshwater ecosystems (41 %) (GBO3, 2010). Currently, only 0.7 % of oceans are protected (WDPA, 2010). The rate of tropical deforestation decreased nearly 20 % between 2000 and 2010 (FAO), but is still very high: 13 million hectares lost each year (equivalent to the area of Greece). In this context Europe's demand for natural resources goes well beyond its boundaries.
Europe's ecological footprint — global impact increasing
Europe is currently consuming twice what its land and seas can produce. Global Footprint Network estimates that over the last 40 years, Europe's Ecological Footprint increased by 33 %. Europe needs to address the global dimension of its consumption.
Ocean acidification — first signs of impacts on the food chain
Globally, ocean acidity has increased by 30 % in the last 150 years mainly due to increased CO2 emissions (UNEP). Increased acidity in marine environments affects the survival of numerous marine organisms, which in turn may affect many species that feed on them.
Coral reefs — an underestimated EU responsibility20% of the world's tropical coral reefs are already lost, an additional 50 % is at risk. More than 10 % of global coral reefs are located in the overseas territories of EU Member States (IUCN).
"Over the past few hundred years, humans have increased species extinction rates by as much as 1 000 times background rates that were typical over Earth's history'
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe's environment.
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