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The report describes the concept of the circular economy and outlines its key characteristics. It draws attention to both the benefits and challenges in transitioning to such an economy and highlights possible ways to measure progress.
Cities are key players in minimising the use of resources and in developing the circular model. Generally, municipalities provide utilities and control public services for citizens and businesses that influence the majority of resource and energy use and the production of emissions and waste. Local authorities have the capacity to implement responses at multiple scales. This report analyses both the supply and the demand issues. It is divided into two parts: the first is devoted to how to avoid, prevent and reduce the use of resources; the second addresses reuse, recycling and harvesting.
The report introduces the concept of urban metabolism, the circular model and the role of compactness in urban resource efficiency. Cities require natural resources and energy to sustain the activities and daily life of the urban population. Nevertheless, there are opportunities to minimise the use of resources needed to sustain urban life and to reduce waste and emissions. As the urban form shapes the way people live, work and move, compact cities offer great potential to reduce the dependence on natural resources and energy. Urban planning, based on a vision of the future and developed with local stakeholders and crossing administrative borders, is a key factor in increasing the density of urban areas.
Shifting to a resource-efficient society is not just a question of technological change but a systemic one. It is a process that assumes fundamental changes in the governance, economy, social structure, culture and practices of the societal system. This report analyses challenges and opportunities for enabling resource-efficient cities.
Environmental impacts of production-consumption systems in Europe
This report highlights the major forces fostering the shift to a resource-efficient green economy in Europe, including the role of EU policies. Currently, the economic and technological changes leading towards green economy objectives across the EU economy are proceeding too slowly; what is required is a much bigger, deeper, and more permanent change in the EU economy and society to create both new opportunities and substitution processes across the economic structure. To bring this about, it is important to study and understand enabling factors and mechanisms at the crossroads of policies and real economy dynamics that could accelerate and direct the transformation.
This paper briefly analyses the major factors that accounted for decreased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions excluding land use, land use changes and forestry (LULUCF) in the EU-28 between 1990 and 2012. The paper commences with an overview of EU trends, followed by summaries of the contributions of individual Member States, greenhouse gas types, and main sectors.
Building a resource-efficient and circular economy in Europe: We are extracting and using more resources than our planet can produce in a given time. Current consumption and production levels are not sustainable and risk weakening our planet’s ability to provide for us. We need to reshape our production and consumption systems to enable us to produce the same amount of output with less resource, to re‑use, recover and recycle more, and to reduce the amount of waste we generate.
Messages emerging from environmentally extended input‑output analysis with relevance to the Resource Efficiency Roadmap and the 7EAP
The objective of this report is to propose a feasible and replicable methodology for use by different entities and at varying scales, when identifying Green Infrastructure (GI) elements. The proposed methodology will help those policymakers and practitioners define a landscape GI network to identify areas where key habitats can be reconnected and the overall ecological quality of the area improved.
Natural resources and human well-being in a green economy
The main objective of this study is to provide practical knowledge on the current status of the implementation of key principles of Article 9 of the Water Framework Directive (WFD), and in particular on the cost‑recovery principle.
The 'green economy' has emerged as a priority in policy debate in recent years. But what does the concept mean in practice and how can decision-makers measure progress towards this strategic goal? This report provides some answers, presenting a detailed overview of the key objectives and targets in EU environmental policy and legislation for the period 2010 2050. It focuses on selected environmental and resource policy areas, specifically: energy; greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and ozone-depleting substances; air quality and air pollution; transport sector emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants; waste; water; sustainable consumption and production (SCP); chemicals; biodiversity and land use.
The main objective of this report is to review the implications of resource efficiency principles for developing EU bioenergy production. The results presented are primarily based on the 2013 ETC/SIA study, capturing key messages while excluding some of the more technical elements. The report aims to be a more accessible version of the ETC/SIA study, aimed at the non-technical reader.
A study in integrated environmental and economic analysis - This report, prepared within the broad framework of EEA work on environmental accounts, presents and describes the tool of environmentally extended input-output analysis and illustrates its potential uses. The report aims to: present the tool of environmentally extended input-output analysis of EE-IOT and assess its potential for answering key SCP policy questions; make use of the tool and the latest data available in Europe to identify the environmental 'hotspots' and leverage points in European consumption and production; and identify weaknesses and potential for improvement in the current application of the tool.
Tables with external costs of air pollution. In this report, the European Environment Agency (EEA) presents updated estimates of the external costs of air pollution for different categories of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). This report on road transport is a continuation of previous reporting from EEA on estimates for the external costs of air pollution from industrial facilities (EEA, 2011).
Signals 2012 brings together environmental issues such as sustainability, green economy, water, waste, food, governance and knowledge sharing. It is prepared in the context of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development — Rio 2012. This year's Signals will give you a flavour of how consumers, forward-thinking businesses and policymakers can make a difference by combining new technological tools — from satellite observations to online platforms. It will also suggest creative and effective solutions to preserve the environment.
Reliable, relevant, targeted and timely environmental information is an essential element in implementing environmental policy and management processes. Such information can come in many formats — with indicators being a long-established approach to distilling detailed information into trends that are robust and easily understandable by a broad audience.
Environmental policy instruments are frequently characterised as obstacles to economic activity but environmental taxes can, in fact, be the opposite — serving as catalysts for the creativity that underpins thriving economies.
Although environmental tax reforms (ETR) tend to improve incomes across society, they can have mild regressive impacts in that richer households gain more than poorer ones. Care is needed to design ETRs in ways that ensure that certain groups are able to benefit equally. ETR's overall benefits for the economy, environment and society are potentially significant. ETR should therefore be regarded as a key element in the policymaking toolkit for shifting to a green economy.
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
PDF generated on 09 Feb 2016, 12:32 AM