Golf courses and washing machines: obstacles and opportunities for sustainable water management

Rising standards of living often boost demand for water-intensive goods and services. Only by managing water consumption — using measures such as water pricing and incentives to adopt new technologies — can we ensure sustainable public water access alongside economic growth.

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Not just hot air — global diplomacy and the search for a successor to the Kyoto Protocol

Every winter the gates of Copenhagen's famous Tivoli Gardens, an old-world amusement park in the city centre, open to officially mark the beginning of the extended Christmas period. This December the twinkling lights of Tivoli will most likely be outshone by COP 15 — the most important global climate change meeting ever — as thousands of diplomats, politicians, business people, environmentalists, media and climate experts from around the globe flock to the Danish capital.

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Every breath you take — air quality in Europe

* The characters in this story are fictional. However the data are real. The story is set on 27 July 2008 when an air quality warning was issued in Brussels.

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Not in my back yard — international shipments of waste and the environment

Waste without borders: Zhang Guofu, 35, makes EUR 700 a month, a huge wage in provincial China, sifting through waste that includes shopping bags from a British supermarket chain and English-language DVDs. The truth is that waste placed in a bin in London, can quite easily end up 5 000 miles away in a recycling factory in China's Pearl River delta.

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If bioenergy goes boom — the switch from oil to bioenergy is not risk free

Bioenergy is not new. For millennia, people have been burning wood. The industrial revolution in the mid-1800s brought so called 'fossil fuels', mainly coal and oil, to the fore. However, fossil fuels are becoming more difficult to find and extract, more expensive, and subject to intense political debate.

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Climate change: diverse threats call for a united response

Climate change is happening and its effects are wide-ranging. While the worst effects may not hit Europe this year or next, we cannot afford to be complacent. Europeans must put in place timely, adequate and cost-effective adaptation measures.

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EU strives for a system-wide response to climate change

Climate change adaptation must be integrated into policies across all sectors and engage all levels of society. To achieve this, new frameworks and governance structures are needed.

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Information on climate change has improved — but not enough

We already have much information to guide strategic climate change response measures at the EU, national, regional and local levels. But the effectiveness and efficiency of actions can be improved with more and better information.

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Bioenergy and biofuels: the big picture

The findings and expertise of the European Environment Agency (EEA) on the subject of biofuels highlight that bioenergy can play an important role in combating climate change, specifically if biomass is used for heating and electricity. However, increasing production and use of first-generation agrofuels risks not achieving the required global and EU greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reductions and can lead to adverse effects on biodiversity, water and soil. In Europe and globally we need strong sustainability criteria for all energy uses of biomass, not only for agrofuels.

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