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Climate change is happening and will continue to have far-reaching consequences for human and natural systems. Impacts and vulnerabilities differ considerably across regions, territories and economic sectors in Europe. Strategies to adapt to climate change are necessary to manage impacts even if global temperature stays below a 2 °C increase above the pre-industrial level. The EU adaptation framework aims at developing a comprehensive strategy by 2013, to be supported by a clearinghouse for sharing and maintaining information on climate change impacts, vulnerability and adaptation.
The EU emitted close to 5 billion tonnes (Gt) of CO2-equivalent emissions in 2008. It contributes today around 12 % of annual global anthropogenic direct greenhouse gas emissions. The EU is making good progress towards achieving its emission reduction targets. A rapid, sustained and effective transition to a low carbon economy is necessary to mitigate climate change and to meet global greenhouse gas emission targets.
Average global air and ocean temperatures are rising, leading to the melting of snow and ice and rising global mean sea level. Ocean acidification results from higher CO2 concentrations. With unabated greenhouse gas emissions, climate change could lead to an increasing risk of irreversible shifts in the climate system with potentially serious consequences. Temperature rises of more than 1.5–2 °C above pre-industrial levels are likely to cause major societal and environmental disruptions in many regions. The atmospheric CO2 concentration needs to be stabilised at 350–400 parts per million (ppm) in order to have a 50 % chance of limiting global mean temperature increase to 2 °C above pre-industrial levels (according to the IPCC in 2007, and confirmed by later scientific insights).
This report presents an overview of the progress achieved so far by the EU, its Member States and other EEA member countries towards their respective targets under the Kyoto Protocol and the EU burden-sharing agreement. The assessment is based on greenhouse gas emission data in Europe for 2008, the first year of the Kyoto Protocol's first commitment period which runs from 2008 to 2012. The recent availability of 2009 emissions estimates for the EU and a limited number of countries broadens, in these cases, the basis of the assessment to two years of the five-year commitment period.
This report is the annual submission of the greenhouse gas inventory of the European Union to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol. It presents greenhouse gas emissions between 1990 and 2008 for EU-27, EU-15, individual Member States and economic sector.
Indicators tracking transport and environment in the European Union
Signals takes us on a journey, following the course of water from the glaciers of the Alps to the permafrost of the Arctic and the delta of the Ganges. We travel to familiar and far-flung places, looking at how we can rebuild our relationships with the crucial elements of everyday life— water, soil, air — and the animals and plants that make up the tapestry of life on Earth.
Each message provides a short assessment focusing on a specific ecosystem or issue related to biodiversity in Europe.
The variety of life underpins our social and economic wellbeing and will be increasingly an indispensible resource in the battle against climate change. However, our consumption and production patterns are depriving ecosystems of their capacity to withstand climate change and deliver the services we need from them. As we understand more about the ways that climate change is impacting biodiversity, it becomes clear that we cannot tackle the two crises separately. Their interdependence requires us to address them together.
Drawing on the most recent knowledge of climate change impacts in the Alps and experiences across the region, this report analyses the risks that climate change presents to the region's water supply and quality, identifying needs, constraints, opportunities, policy levers and options for adaptation. It extracts policy guidance on adaptation practice and aims to assist regional and local stakeholders in developing robust adaptation strategies. The focus of the report is on water resources and related adaptation, rather than water-related extreme events like floods, avalanches, landslides or mudflows, which are already well covered by existing studies of climate change impacts in the Alps.
European countries have significantly reduced anthropogenic emissions of ozone precursor gases since 1990. In general, however, ambient air measurements in urban and rural areas of Europe do not show any downward trends in ground-level ozone. The main purpose of this report is to shed light on possible reasons.
The present inventory also constitutes the EU‑15 voluntary submission under the Kyoto Protocol.
In May 2008, the Council of Europe's Congress of Local and Regional Authorities captured the concerns and desires of urban policy‑makers and citizens in the title of its new European Urban Charter: Manifesto for a new urbanity. Like numerous other international and European charters, conventions and declarations, the manifesto describes with some apprehension the 'unprecedented environmental, democratic, cultural, social and economic challenges' facing urban centres and their inhabitants. Our report on quality of life in Europe's cities and towns reiterates these concerns but also unravels the many apparent paradoxes of urban development and the sometimes perplexing realities of urban Europe today. The report defines a vision for progress towards a more sustainable, well‑designed urban future.
Transport at a crossroads. TERM 2008: indicators tracking transport and environment in the European UnionMar 31, 2009
The TERM 2008 report examines the performance of the transport sector vis-a-vis environmental performance. It concludes that there are plenty of options for synergies between different policy initiatives but also a risk of measures counteracting each other.
Global climate change is a reality. In Europe the most vulnerable regions are the Arctic, mountain areas, coastal zones and the Mediterranean. Key economic sectors, which will need to adapt include energy supply, health, water management, agriculture, forestry, tourism and transport.
Signals is published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) at the start of each year and provides snapshot stories on issues of interest both to the environmental policy debate and the wider public for the upcoming year. The eight stories addressed are not exhaustive but have been selected on the basis of their relevance to the current environmental policy debate in Europe. They address priority issues of climate change, nature and biodiversity, the use of natural resources and health.
According to Article 21 of the Emissions Trading Directive, Member States shall report annually on its application. The reporting obligation allows the Commission to continuously follow the implementation of the Directive and provides information for the Commission's review report under Article 30 of the Directive. By late October 2008, Article 21 reports had been received from all Member States. The responses in those reports were assessed by the EEA and its European Topic Centre on Air and Climate Change (ETC/ACC) and compiled into this report.