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What is a 'green economy'? Although it is still debated, many organisations — EEA included — now have a shared understanding of the concept. At the most basic level, a green economy is one that generates increasing prosperity while maintaining the natural systems that sustain us. More
- Key facts and messages
- The world population may rise beyond 9.6 billion by 2050, despite a slowing rate of growth. Most of the increase is likely to occur in urban areas in developing regions. Growing and younger populations in the developing world, the global growth... more
- Demographic trends are likely to increase global resource demand and related environmental pressures. This points to the need for Europe to persist with efforts to decouple resource use from economic development. more
- Urban growth is driving land-use change in Europe, with peri-urban areas developing at four times the rate of towns and cities. Integrated urban management could increase the environmental resilience of Europe’s cities, particularly in the... more
- Responses to sustainability challenges are dispersed across EU legislation and policies, while the evidence base to track progress is still fragmented. more
- The role of cities is critical in achieving Europe's objectives for a low carbon, resource-efficient and ecosystems resilient society. more
- EU-28 domestic material consumption declined by 10% between 2000 and 2012, despite a 16% increase in economic output. Environmental pressures such as waste generation and harmful emissions were also reduced. Policies have contributed to this... more
- Largely due to its combined natural and cultural attractiveness, Europe is the world's primary tourism destination and tourism generates 10% of EU GDP. New types of tourism and increased frequency of holidays have serious environmental impacts... more
- Urban areas in developing countries will absorb most of the global population increase, with 67 % of people living in cities by 2050. Most of the growth is expected to be in megacities, particularly slums. Compact cities are the most efficient... more
- The pace of technological change, particularly in the fields of information, communication, nano- and bio-technologies, is unprecedented. This provides opportunities to reduce humanity’s impact on the environment and reliance on non-renewable... more
- The risks and uncertainties associated with technological innovation can be managed using regulatory frameworks and the precautionary principle. By recalibrating its institutions, policies and environmental knowledge base, Europe can support... more
- Per capita consumption of material resources increased between 2000 and 2012 in 13 countries and decreased in 19. Significant increases were primarily due to large-scale infrastructure investments, with the largest declines related to the economic... more
- Europe's resource efficiency has improved in recent years but this has not always translated into improved ecosystem resilience or reduced risks to health and well-being. Creating a green economy will require fundamental changes in the production-consumption... more
- Four countries have consistently been the most resource-efficient economies, with six remaining at the bottom of resource-productivity rankings, indicating opportunities for further improvements and actions. more
- 75% of Europeans — and more in the future — live in or around cities. The quality of life therein depends much on the environmental conditions. Insufficiently managed urbanisation leads to an increase in 'land take', soil sealing, fragmentation... more
Nature works hard to protect us and to sustain our everyday lives — a fact that is often under-appreciated. But it plays a vital role, providing clean air, clean drinking water, clothing, food and raw materials we use to build shelter. Other benefits are not so well known, such as the role nature plays in alleviating the effects of climate change. To highlight the important role nature plays in our lives, the European Environment Agency (EEA) invites you to participate in capturing how nature benefits you through the ‘NATURE@work’ photography competition.
Despite budgetary challenges, cities and towns across Europe are taking action to put in place measures that will help them adapt to the impacts of climate change. A new European Environment Agency (EEA) report released today highlights the opportunities open to municipalities to share best practices and how they can support projects like green roofs or expanding city parks to help alleviate the negative effects of climate change.
Climate change poses increasingly severe risks for ecosystems, human health and the economy in EuropeNews 25 Jan 2017
Europe’s regions are facing rising sea levels and more extreme weather, such as more frequent and more intense heatwaves, flooding, droughts and storms due to climate change, according to a European Environment Agency report published today. The report assesses the latest trends and projections on climate change and its impacts across Europe and finds that better and more flexible adaptation strategies, policies and measures will be crucial to lessen these impacts.
Land degradation and taking land for urban development threaten critical ecosystem services, including provision of food and water, climate regulation and recreation. A new report, by the European Environment Agency (EEA), shows how land recycling, such as reusing neglected sites and turning roads or parking lots to green spaces or residential areas, can have positive impacts on the environment and support Europe’s transition towards a circular and green economy.
Our climate is changing. We must reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit the rate of climate change, and at the same time, take measures that help us prepare for current and future impacts. Both of these strands of action require unprecedented redirection of investments. This was acknowledged by the climate conferences in Paris and recently in Marrakesh. The finance sector can and will play an instrumental role in supporting Europe’s transition towards a low- carbon, climate-resilient society.
From walking and electric cars to massive freight vessels and high speed trains, a wide range of transport options exist. Many factors, including price, distance, availability of infrastructure and convenience, can play a role when selecting a transport mode. Car rides are the preferred mode for passenger transport in Europe. But even then, some options are cleaner than others. How can we opt for greener choices?
Our cities are under pressure like never before from increasing populations, traffic gridlock and climate change. How can we make them easier to get around, more liveable and sustainable? One urban design firm is helping transform the way we plan cities. We talked to Helle Søholt, founding partner and CEO of Gehl Architects, Copenhagen, to find out.
Ingredients for the meals we eat at home or in restaurants come from near and afar. In an increasingly urbanised and globalised world, the food produced in the countryside needs to be transported to the city. Much focus has been put on reducing ‘food miles’, which can be a relevant but sometimes limited concept. A smarter and cleaner transport system would solve only part of the issue. A wider systemic analysis of the entire food system is in order.
Municipalities across Europe increasingly acknowledge the need to adapt to climate change and have begun to adopt various measures. Meeting the costs of adaptation measures for climate change is, however, a major challenge. Municipalities have found innovative ways to overcome that challenge and have started implementing measures. These solutions could be relevant for other cities, towns and smaller municipalities too, and examples are collected and presented in this publication as an inspiration. It offers insights into lessons learned on the ground regarding the most successful approaches, the difficulties encountered and overcome and the key success factors in financing local adaptation action.
Mapping Europe's environmental future: understanding the impacts of global megatrends at the national levelPublication 15 Feb 2017
This report sets out the logic for identifying the implications of Global Mega Trends at the national, regional or European level, and aims to provide inspiration to EEA member and cooperating countries to undertake their own national studies. It describes the context and the reasons why understanding global trends is important, and sets out a suggested methodology for doing so.
This report is an indicator-based assessment of past and projected climate change and its impacts on ecosystems and society. It also looks at society’s vulnerability to these impacts and at the development of adaptation policies and the underlying knowledge base. This is the fourth ‘Climate change, impacts and vulnerability in Europe’ report, which is published every four years. This edition aims to support the implementation and review process of the 2013 EU Adaptation Strategy, which is foreseen for 2018, and the development of national and transnational adaptation strategies and plans.
The EEA’s new report ‘TERM 2016: Transitions towards a more sustainable mobility system’ assesses the progress European Union Member States are making to improve the environmental performance of transport in line with related EU policy targets. The report also looks at the big changes underway in the sector, from emerging technologies like electric and driverless cars, or recent practices that have caught on, like shared or on-demand online mobility services for commuters. The report stresses that transport activity in the years ahead will continue to put pressure on the environment if action isn’t taken to make transport sustainable.