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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.
This report presents an overall experimental framework for ecosystem capital accounting. It is based on the to implement simplified ecosystem capital accounts for Europe as a 'fast-track' initiative launched by the European Environment Agency in 2010. The experimental framework highlights accounting balances and relationships between accounting tables and systems as well as key indicators and aggregates that describe economy ecosystem interactions. Ecosystem accounts are being developed as part of the System of Environmental-Economic Accounts which aims at supplementing the UN System of National Accounts with information on the environment and natural capital.
This report provides an overview of resource efficiency policies and instruments in 31 member and cooperating countries of the European Environment Agency network (Eionet). A detailed survey was conducted during the first half of 2011 to collect, analyse and disseminate information about national experiences in developing and implementing resource efficiency policies, and to facilitate sharing of experiences and good practice. The report reviews national approaches to resource efficiency and explores similarities and differences in policies, strategies, indicators and targets, policy drivers and institutional setup and information gaps. It concludes with some EEA considerations for future policies on resource efficiency which could be considered in developing future resource efficiency policies at the EU and country levels. The analysis is illustrated with short examples of policy initiatives in the countries, described in more detail in the country profile documents available below.
This report presents a retrospective overview of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emission trends in Europe from 1990 to 2008, with a particular focus on the underpinning drivers and the influence of EU policies. The analysis is based on the combination of decomposition analyses to identify the respective influence of each identified driver and an overview of the main EU policies and their likely effects on these drivers. The period covered by the analysis stops in 2008. As a result, the analysis does not address the effects of the recent economic crisis on GHG emissions. This reinforces the conclusion on long-term emission drivers. The report covers the EU-27 and presents results for the other European Environment Agency (EEA) member countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey) and Croatia (EU candidate country, together with Turkey) as far as data are available.
The report brings together a review of available scenarios studies relevant to environmental assessment and decision-making at the European (or sub-European) scale (263 studies), and facts sheets of selected 44 studies using common description categories, which enables the user to review existing scenario studies that may be of relevance to their particular interest and benefit from them. It is also a contribution to the evolving knowledge base for Forward-Looking Information and Services (FLIS).
Knowledge base for Forward-looking information and services (FLIS) is a platform to support long-term decision-making. The aim of FLIS is to introduce forward-looking components and perspectives into existing environmental information systems and to expand the knowledge base and its use.
The EU 2010 Biodiversity Baseline provides facts and figures on the state and trends of the different biodiversity and ecosystem components. It thereby supports the EU in developing the post‑2010 sub‑targets and provides factual data for measuring and monitoring progress in the EU from 2011 to 2020.
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.
Eionet data flow progress report
The territorial dimension of environmental sustainability – Potential territorial indicators to support the environmental dimension of territorial cohesion05 Jul 2010
This study undertakes an analysis of the environmental dimensions of territorial cohesion and of related EU policies. It is intended to contribute to and support external processes including the European Commission's Green Paper on Territorial Cohesion, revision of the EU budget (e.g. regarding Cohesion Policy) and the work of ESPON (the European Spatial Planning Observation Network) on territorial indicator development.
Ecosystem accounting and the cost of biodiversity losses — the case of coastal Mediterranean wetlands28 Apr 2010
This report focuses on ways we can use land and ecosystem accounting techniques to describe and monitor the consequences of biodiversity loss in the coastal wetlands of the Mediterranean. These ecosystems are characterised by the close coupling of economic, social and ecological processes, and any accounting system has to represent how these key elements are linked and change over time. This report discusses the importance of estimating the ecological and social costs of maintaining these systems, and the problems surrounding providing monetary estimates of the services associated with wetlands. It also shows how individual wetland socio-ecological systems (SES) can be defined and mapped using the remotely sensed land cover information from Corine Land Cover.
Protected areas provide a wide range of services in a context of increasing pressures and a rapidly changing environment. Europe is the region with the greatest number of protected areas in the world but they are relatively small in size. Europe's Natura 2000, unique in the world and still young, and the Emerald network under development, are international European networks of protected areas that catalyse biodiversity conservation.
The EU has highlighted the importance of using the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) to prevent the abandonment of high nature value farmland and its intensification as a key action to halt biodiversity decline. The present report sets out to assess whether the current distribution of CAP funds is likely to favour the maintenance of farmland with high nature value (HNV). And it explores the extent to which CAP funds are likely to support the long-term economic and ecological sustainability of these HNV farming systems.
Issued in 1999, the Landfill Directive marked a decisive shift from landfill towards the EU's new waste hierarchy, which prioritises waste prevention, followed by re-use, recycling and recovery, and seeks to avoid landfilling wherever feasible. The Landfill Directive set targets for progressively reducing the amount of biodegradable municipal waste landfilled in the period to 2016. A decade on from the Landfill Directive's enactment seems a fitting time to review progress and extract key lessons for policy-makers in Europe and elsewhere. Through individual and comparative analyses of waste management in five countries and one sub-national region (Estonia, Finland, the Flemish Region of Belgium, Germany, Hungary and Italy), as well as an econometric analysis of the EU–25 Member States, this report seeks to answer a number of important questions, including: To what extent was waste management practice changed in the last decade? How much of the change was due to the Landfill Directive (and other EU instruments)? What measures and institutional arrangements did countries introduce? Which measures and arrangements proved most effective in different national and regional contexts?
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.
Effectiveness of environmental taxes and charges for managing sand, gravel and rock extraction in selected EU countries27 Jun 2008
With the aim of getting practical experience in undertaking ex post policy effectiveness evaluations and to provide support in selected policy areas, this report is considered a further step in that work.
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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