EC, 2014 - My priorities , by Jean-Claude Juncker
Over the past 40 years Europe has developed the most comprehensive, ambitious and binding environmental legislation existing anywhere today. And with good reason: these standards should be seen as a unique economic advantage.
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.
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 crisis and a collapse in construction activities.
The need for more coordinated governance at the global scale has been reflected in the proliferation of international environmental agreements, particularly during the 1990s. More recently, businesses and civil society have also taken an increasing role in governance. This broadening of approaches is welcome but it raises concerns about coordination and effectiveness, as well as accountability and transparency.
In the context of rapid globalisation, governments are facing a mismatch between the increasingly long-term, global, systemic challenges facing society and their more national and short-term focus and powers.
For Europe, this rebalancing presents competitive threats but also economic opportunities in meeting the demand of a fast growing global middle class. The emergence of a larger and more diverse mixture of major economic powers may, however, complicate global efforts to coordinate governance. And growing economic interdependence will make it harder to manage the social and environmental impacts associated with production and consumption systems.
Driven by structural change, fast-growing workforces and trade liberalisation, developing regions are rapidly increasing their share of global economic output, trade and investment.
Our climate is changing. We need to adapt to current and expected changes, while maximising our efforts to quickly and sharply reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. And 2015 can be a turning point for global climate policies. Europe and the world must seize the opportunity and allocate sufficient funds to end the carbon dependency of the global economy.
European countries have increased renewable energy’s share of energy consumption in recent years, in part thanks to support mechanisms for the renewables sector. A new report finds that many energy support policies could be better focused to lead the EU more effectively to decarbonise the energy sector.
The INSPIRE Directive, which came into force in 2007 and is expected to be fully implemented by 2020, aims to establish a European Spatial Data Infrastructure in order to support policy making by providing more and better spatial data. The following report analyses the state of implementation of the Directive at the mid-point of its implementation. The conclusions of the report suggest that INSPIRE implementation is on track, however, certain actions - especially coordination and data sharing – would benefit from strategic adjustment.
The figure shows the number of international environmental agreements that have been adopted between 1950 and 2009. It distinguishes between agreements, protocols and amendments.
Almost all car and van manufacturers have met European carbon dioxide emission limits several years ahead of their deadlines, according to updated information from the European Environment Agency (EEA).
This report presents final data for both vehicle types, updating preliminary data published earlier in 2014.
Adapting to climate change has reached the political agenda in most European countries, according to the most comprehensive analysis of adaptation in Europe published to date. Extreme weather events and EU policies were the most common reasons for beginning to address adaptation.
When taken as a single variable, population density, transport infrastructure, soil types, land use and terrain characteristics, might tell only a part of the story. What links them together and allows us to get a better understanding of what is happening where? How does spatial data help improve Europe's environmental policies? We asked these questions to Stefan Jensen, who leads a group working on implementing the Shared Environmental Information System (SEIS) – with a focus on spatial reference data – at the European Environment Agency.
Europe selected its new policy makers. They will need to address not only today's challenges but also set in motion policies that will affect Europeans well beyond their five-year mandate. What do they need to do today to make sure that Europeans live well in the future? By taking action at the EU level and tackling environment and climate issues, EU policy makers can actually revive the economy and guarantee our long-term well-being.