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Methane gas emissions: a greenhouse gas crucial to mitigation efforts

Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are crucial to tackling the impacts of climate change, especially methane gas emissions which are seen as a priority area for action by the EU. The EEA recently published a briefing on methane emissions in the EU which includes a new data visualisation tool. We sat down with Ricardo Fernandez, EEA climate change mitigation expert and coordinator of the EU’s GHG inventory to the UNFCCC, to explain the briefing and why reducing methane emissions is so crucial to wider mitigation efforts.

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Climate, nature and people: a shared future for our planet

The stakes have never been higher. Our planet is warming and losing species at an alarming rate. Two global conferences over the past two months brought people from across the world around a common topic — climate and biodiversity. The challenges in both areas are symptoms of the same problem: our unsustainable production and consumption. Despite the complexity of the negotiations, these conferences are crucial for global awareness, consensus and urgent action.

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A future based on renewable energy

Faced with climate change, soaring energy prices and concerns about security of supply, renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power seem an obvious way forward. What would it take to transform Europe’s existing energy system into one that is based on renewable sources?

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Interview — A sustainable finance system, what is it for?

What is sustainable finance and what role can it play in Europe’s shift to carbon neutrality? We asked the EEA’s lead expert on sustainable finance, Andreas Barkman, to explain what the EU has been doing to ensure that the financial sector plays its part in greening our financial system to support sustainable growth.

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High time to shift gear in transport sector

Societies depend in many ways on moving people and goods economically and efficiently from one place to another. International trade gives us access to foreign products and markets. People need ways of going to school, work and other activities. Transport is an essential part of our way of life but, in its current state, it is dependent on fossil fuels and puts serious pressure on the environment and climate.

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Interview — How to ensure a socially just transition

The European Green Deal puts emphasis on leaving no one behind, ensuring a just transition, in creating a more modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy. What does a socially just transition mean in practice? We spoke to Jorge Cabrita, research manager at Eurofound.

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State of play: Energy underpins Europe’s climate ambitions

Europe is moving towards a future of low-carbon energy. The year 2020 marked an important milestone, as the EU achieved its first three climate and energy targets, namely reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% compared with 1990 levels, increasing the share of renewable energy used to 20%,and improving energy efficiency by 20%.

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Secure, affordable, and clean energy in times of crisis?

Europe is meeting a growing share of its energy needs through renewable sources but is also still dependent on oil and gas. With rapidly changing energy prices, concerns over keeping homes warm this winter and the commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, there is a need to save energy, diversify its sources, accelerate the shift to renewables and support those who are most vulnerable.

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Editorial — Staying on course for a sustainable Europe

The droughts, heatwaves and wildfires of summer 2022 were a stark reminder of why mitigating climate change is a defining challenge of the 21st century. The EU’s commitment to become climate neutral by 2050 is the most ambitious climate agenda in the world. Delivering on this goal is a much-needed model for other countries and regions to do the same.

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Interview — Investing for sustainability

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the biggest multilateral financial institution in the world and one of the largest providers of climate finance in the form of grants, loans and guarantees. We interviewed Eva Mayerhofer, lead biodiversity and environment specialist at the EIB, about the challenges and opportunities of accelerating Europe’s green transition through sustainable financing.

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Summer 2022: Living in a state of multiple crises

It seems as if we have been living through one crisis after another — a pandemic, extreme heatwaves and drought due to climate change, inflation, war, and an energy crisis. This winter is likely to be marked by continued uncertainty, high volatility in global markets like energy and food, which will affect some countries and groups more than others. Tackling these crises, especially in the long term, requires steadfast policy commitment and investments in sustainability to strengthen our societies’ resilience.

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Interview — Prosumers and the energy crisis: citizens contributing to Europe’s energy transition

What are energy ‘prosumers’ and what role can they play in boosting the use of renewable energy across Europe? We sat down with EEA energy and environment expert, Javier Esparrago to talk about how citizens, institutions and businesses can help tackle the current energy crisis by becoming prosumers who both produce and consume renewable energy. The EEA published a report earlier this month which provides an overview of the role of renewable energy prosumers and its growing practice in the wake of better and cheaper technology and policies that promote it.

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Making transport more sustainable in Europe

Transport connects people, places, cultures and economies but it also exerts major pressures on the environment and climate. We spoke with two of European Environment Agency's (EEA) transport and environment experts — Rasa Narkeviciute and Tommaso Selleri — about the challenges and opportunities in making Europe's transport system more sustainable and about the report we have recently published.

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Health in focus: Moving towards zero pollution means healthier lives in Europe

Environmental pollution impacts our health and quality of life. The European Environment Agency’s assessments have highlighted these impacts and the potential gains we could get from a cleaner environment. We can prevent some cancer cases; we can improve our quality of life with every action we take towards zero pollution in Europe.

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Solidarity in Europe in times of war

The Russian military aggression in Ukraine changed the lives of Ukrainians from one day to the next. The impacts of this unjustified war are felt not only in Ukraine but also well beyond the borders of Ukraine and will continue to impact us all for years and even for generations to come.

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Interview — How does Europe get to zero pollution?

The European Union has embarked on ambitious plans to drastically reduce emissions and pollution over the coming decades. Part of this includes the recently launched Zero Pollution Action Plan which will focus on cutting air, water and soil pollution to levels no longer considered harmful to human health and the environment. We sat down with Ian Marnane, EEA environment, health and well-being expert working on an upcoming EEA report on Zero Pollution, which is expected to be published later this year.

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Solidarity key to Covid-19 recovery and a better, sustainable future

2021 was marked by Covid-19 and climate change impacts. Faced with higher energy prices and health concerns, Europe’s recovery requires difficult decisions in 2022. Delayed action or lower ambitions are more likely to have higher social and economic costs in the long run. Addressing social inequalities in this sustainability transition is the key to a better future for us all.

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Western Balkan countries play a valuable role in partnering with EEA to tackle environmental and climate challenges

The European Environment Agency cooperates with a large number of countries, including those in the Western Balkans. How does this cooperation further the EU’s work on the environment and how does it benefit Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Kosovo? We sat down with Luc Bas, head of Coordination, Networks and Strategy Programme, to discuss how the EEA is working with these countries to improve the environment.

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Editorial — The value of nature

The loss of biodiversity and natural ecosystems we are currently witnessing is just as catastrophic as climate change. In fact, the two are closely entwined, as climate change accelerates biodiversity loss and healthy ecosystems are a vital ally in the fight against climate change.

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Interview — Economics of biodiversity: can accounting help save nature?

Can putting a value on nature help protect it or do we need new governance models? How is trade linked to biodiversity loss and inequalities? We talked to James Vause, the lead economist at the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), who contributed to the Dasgupta review on the economics of biodiversity, especially to the chapter focused on trade and the biosphere.

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