More action is needed to protect the natural environment and people’s health

Substantial progress in cutting greenhouse gas emissions, air and other pollutants, and improving energy and material efficiency, needs to be complemented by more actions by EU Member States to fully apply agreed-to policies to better protect biodiversity, natural resources, and people’s health. These are the key findings of a new European Environment Agency (EEA) report which reviews key trends and outlook towards achieving EU 2020 environmental objectives.

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Innovations across Europe lead way towards sustainable future

Achieving the European Union’s long-term objective of shifting to a sustainable, low-carbon future will be a massive undertaking. It will require fundamental changes in how we live, produce goods and consume. A new joint report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Environment Information and Observation Network (Eionet) explores the innovations and new knowledge that can catalyse and guide transitions. It further investigates how the EEA and Eionet can help support such change.

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Renewables continue to grow in the EU, but Member States need to step up ambition on energy savings

The EU Member States have lowered their energy consumption in recent years, despite a slight increase in 2015. At the same time, they use more and more renewable energy. Overall, the 28 Member States are collectively well on their way to meeting their 2020 targets on renewables, energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions. However, continuing current trends will fall short of longer term objectives, according to a new European Environment Agency (EEA) assessment published today.

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Quality of Europe’s water for people’s use has improved, but challenges remain to keep it clean and healthy

The quality of drinking water and bathing water, and the effectiveness of waste water treatment across the European Union continues to improve, according to a new European Environment Agency (EEA) report published today. However, pollution from sources like waste water treatment plants, agricultural runoff and storm water overflows, and emerging risks like micro pollutants from personal care products pose challenges to maintaining clean and healthy water for people’s use.

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Less household waste going to landfill in Europe

European countries are improving their methods to prevent household trash and other municipal waste from ending up in landfill sites. Recycling rates, in particular, have increased considerably across Europe over the past decade, due in part to European environmental policies, according to a new European Environment Agency (EEA) assessment published today.

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Restoring European rivers and lakes in cities improves quality of life

Rivers and lakes located in European cities and towns are getting cleaner thanks to improvements in waste water treatment and restoration projects which have brought many waterways back to life. New forms of water management contribute to make our cities greener, smarter and more sustainable, but key challenges remain, according to a new report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) released today.

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Fish to fork: a need to implement changes in the food system

Securing our need for food has become a major threat to the environment, driving increased emissions and over-exploitation of natural resources such as water, soil and fish. Our health and well-being have also been affected. Ensuring nutritious food for all in a fair and environmentally sound way has become a societal, economic and policy challenge across the world. A shared understanding of the food system and the roles different actors — policy makers, producers and other stakeholders in the food supply-chain — play will be crucial to a sustainable future, according to a new European Environment Agency report published today.

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Surplus emission permits start decreasing in the EU’s emissions trading system

The surplus of CO2 emission allowances in the European Union’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) started declining in 2015. This is the first significant decrease since unused allowances started accumulating in 2008. However, the surplus remains substantial, according to the European Environment Agency’s annual report on the EU’s emissions cap and trade system published today.

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Decommissioning fossil fuel power plants between now and 2030 essential for Europe’s low carbon future

Significant changes will be needed in the Member States’ energy-generating mix if the European Union is to meet its 2050 goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95 % compared to 1990 levels, according to a new European Environment Agency (EEA) report published today. While the European Union has made considerable progress in improving energy efficiency and using renewable energy sources, a well-planned transition out of carbon-intensive power generation is needed to meet the long-term aim of creating a low-carbon society.

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Designing tax systems for a green economy transition

Environmental taxes can contribute to a healthier planet and healthier people. They also spur jobs and growth, are easy to administer and difficult to evade. However, meeting EU climate and other environmental policy targets will erode the existing base for these sort of taxes. This and other systemic factors have implications for the design of future tax systems in Europe, according to an EEA report published today.

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Communication tools can foster greener behaviour

Communication has a key role in supporting the implementation of environmental legislation, spurring public participation and can help foster environment-friendly behaviours to build a sustainable future. A European Environment Agency (EEA) study published today explores how communication can support legal and economic policy tools.

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Resource efficiency in Europe: benefits of doing more with less

Many European countries are realising the economic benefits of making more efficient use of material resources like metals, fossil fuels and minerals. But more action is needed to underpin this trend in resource efficiency with stronger policies on energy, material resources, waste management and on circular economy. These are the findings from a new European Environment Agency (EEA) assessment published today.

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Better targeted measures needed to tackle urban sprawl in Europe

There is growing evidence that urban sprawl is having an increasingly negative effect on the environment and on the quality of life across Europe. Existing actions to prevent, contain or control such development have had limited results. Better targeted measures are necessary. That is the main conclusion of a joint European Environment Agency (EEA) and Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) report published today.

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Better integration of land use impacts needed across EU policies

Land is a valuable and limited resource. The environmental impact of land used for building new roads, houses or energy grids should be better integrated into European Union policies, according to a report released today by the European Environment Agency. A preliminary review on how land is used in the EU found that more attention should be paid to environmental concerns.

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Circular economy to have considerable benefits, but challenges remain

The environmental benefits of adopting a circular economy in Europe could be considerable – reducing waste, and minimising the continent’s heavy dependence on imports of raw materials. A new report published today by the European Environment Agency (EEA) draws attention to both the benefits and challenges of such an economic transition. The report also describes possible ways to measure progress and highlights the areas where more attention is required from research and policy in order to turn the concept into reality.

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Waste prevention: where do European countries stand?

Every year Europeans generate more than two billions of tonnes of waste, which does not only cause environmental problems but also represents an economic loss. Waste prevention lies at the centre of the European Union’s policies on waste and Member States have a legal obligation to adopt and implement waste prevention programmes. A new report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) reviews 27 national and regional waste prevention programmes adopted by the end of 2014.

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Climate change adaptation in Europe: tracking progress and sharing know-how

An increasing number of initiatives and measures are being put in place to adapt to current and potential impacts of climate change at European, national, regional and local levels. It is now critical to understand better which actions work in which contexts and why. Where do countries stand in terms of tracking climate change adaptation in their territories? A new report by the European Environment Agency provides an overview of national monitoring, reporting and evaluation (MRE) systems in European countries.

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CO2 emissions from new vehicles in Europe continued to decrease in 2014

Vehicles sold in the European Union in 2014 were, on average, 2.5% more efficient than those sold the previous year, according to a new report from the European Environment Agency (EEA). The report, which updates the preliminary data published earlier this year, tracks progress towards CO2 emission targets for new passenger cars and vans.

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Climate change: EU shows leadership ahead of Paris with 23% emissions cut

The European Union is on track towards meeting and overachieving its 2020 target for reducing greenhouse emissions by 20%, according to a report published today by the European Environment Agency (EEA). The "Trends and projections in Europe 2015" report reveals that greenhouse gas emissions in Europe decreased by 23% between 1990 and 2014 and reached the lowest levels on record. Latest projections by Member States show that the EU is heading for a 24% reduction by 2020 with current measures in place, and a 25% reduction with additional measures already being planned in Member States. The EU is already working towards its 2030 goal of an emissions reduction target of at least 40% — the EU's contribution towards the new global climate change agreement in Paris in December.

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Protecting marine life in Europe’s seas

Europe´s seas are under pressure. Marine protected areas (MPAs) can act as a key management measures to safeguard marine ecosystems and biodiversity so to maintain their potential to deliver key services to our societies and economies. European countries have been extending marine protected areas across Europe’s seas. More effective management of these marine protected areas and a convergent implementation of related legislation now constitute important challenges. A new report by the European Environment Agency assesses the progress made and concludes with perspectives for the future.

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European Environment Agency (EEA)
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Phone: +45 3336 7100