7th Environment Action Programme

Policy Document
DECISION No 1386/2013/EU OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 20 November 2013 on a General Union Environment Action Programme to 2020 ‘Living well, within the limits of our planet’. In November 2013, the European Parliament and the European Council adopted the 7 th EU Environment Action Programme to 2020 ‘Living well, within the limits of our planet’. This programme is intended to help guide EU action on the environment and climate change up to and beyond 2020 based on the following vision: ‘In 2050, we live well, within the planet’s ecological limits. Our prosperity and healthy environment stem from an innovative, circular economy where nothing is wasted and where natural resources are managed sustainably, and biodiversity is protected, valued and restored in ways that enhance our society’s resilience. Our low-carbon growth has long been decoupled from resource use, setting the pace for a safe and sustainable global society.’

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Global and European sea level Global and European sea level This indicator comprises several metrics to describe past and future sea level rise globally and in European seas. Global sea level rise is reported because it is the second-most important metric of global climate change (after global mean surface temperature), and because it is a proxy of sea level rise in Europe. Past sea level trends across Europe are reported in two different ways: first, absolute sea level change based on satellite altimeter measurements that reflect primarily the contribution of global climate change to sea level rise in Europe; second, relative sea level change based on tide gauges that also include local land movement, which is more relevant for the development of regional adaptation strategies. The indicator also addresses changes in extreme sea level along the European coast. The following aspects of sea level rise are included: Observed change in global mean sea level, based on two reconstructions from tide gauge measurements (since 1880) and on satellite altimeter data (since 1993) Spatial trends in absolute sea level across European seas, based on satellite measurements (since 1993) Spatial trends in relative sea level across European seas, based on European tide gauge stations with long time series (since 1970) Projected change in global sea level for different forcing scenarios, including contributions from different sources Projected change in relative sea level across European seas Projected change in the frequency of flooding events along European coasts
Exposure of ecosystems to acidification, eutrophication and ozone Exposure of ecosystems to acidification, eutrophication and ozone This indicator shows the negative impact of air pollution on ecosystems and vegetation in Europe. In particular, it shows: ecosystem areas with exceedances of the critical loads for acidification and eutrophication; and exposure of areas covered with vegetation (crops and forests) to ground-level ozone, the latest available rural concentrations of ozone and the annual variation of rural concentrations of ozone  at the European level . In the case of acidification and eutrophication, the area as well as the magnitude of critical load exceedances in ecosystems are shown. A critical load is a quantitative estimate of an exposure to one or more pollutants, below which significant harmful effects on specified sensitive elements of the environment do not occur according to present knowledge (ICP on Modelling and Mapping, 2015; UNECE, 2015). It represents the upper limit of one or more pollutants deposited on the Earth's surface that an ecosystem, such as a lake or a forest, can tolerate without its function (e.g. the nutrient nitrogen cycle) or its structure (e.g. with respect to plant species' richness) being damaged. A positive difference between the deposition loads of acidifying and/or eutrophying airborne pollutants and the critical loads is termed an 'exceedance'. In the case of ozone, the risk is estimated by reference to either a target value and a long-term objective, or to the 'critical level' for ozone for each location. The target value and the long-term objective are levels fixed with the aim of avoiding, preventing or reducing harmful effects on the environment. For ozone, the critical level is a concentration in the atmosphere, above which direct adverse effects on receptors, such as human beings, plants, ecosystems or materials, may occur according to present knowledge (ICP on Modelling and Mapping, 2015; UNECE, 2015).   
Global and European sea level Global and European sea level This indicator comprises several metrics to describe past and future sea level rise globally and in European seas. Global sea-level rise is reported because it is the second-most important metric of global climate change (after global mean surface temperature), and because it is a proxy of sea level rise in Europe. Past sea-level trends across Europe are reported in two different ways: first, absolute sea level change based on satellite altimeter measurements that reflect primarily the contribution of global climate change to sea level rise in Europe; second, relative sea level change based on tide gauges that also include local land movement, which is more relevant for the development of regional adaptation strategies. The following components on observed sea-level rise are included: Change in global mean sea level (time series starting in 1880, in mm), based on a reconstruction from various data sources (since 1880) and on satellite altimeter data (since 1993) Trend in absolute sea level across Europe (map, in mm/year), based on satellite measurements (since 1992) Trend in relative sea level across Europe (map, in mm/year), based on selected European tide gauge stations (since 1970) Furthermore, this indicator presents projections for sea level rise in the 21st century, both globally and for the European seas. The indicator also presents the contributions to past and future global sea level rise from different sources. Finally, the indicator presents information on observed and projected changes in extreme sea level along European coasts. However, due to insufficient data availability this information cannot be presented by means of figures or maps.
Exposure of ecosystems to acidification, eutrophication and ozone Exposure of ecosystems to acidification, eutrophication and ozone This indicator shows the negative impact of air pollution on ecosystems and vegetation in Europe. In particular, it shows: ecosystem areas with exceedances of the critical loads for acidification and eutrophication; and exposure of areas covered with vegetation (crops and forests) to ground-level ozone, last year's rural concentrations of ozone, and the annual variation at the European level of rural concentrations of ozone.   In the case of acidification and eutrophication, the area as well as the magnitude of critical load exceedances in ecosystems are shown. A critical load is a quantitative estimate of an exposure to one or more pollutants, below which significant harmful effects on specified sensitive elements of the environment do not occur according to present knowledge (ICP on Modelling and Mapping, 2015; UNECE, 2015). It represents the upper limit of one or more pollutants deposited on the Earth's surface that an ecosystem, such as a lake or a forest, can tolerate without its function (e.g. the nutrient nitrogen cycle) or its structure (e.g. with respect to plant species' richness) being damaged . A positive difference between the deposition loads of acidifying and/or eutrophying airborne pollutants and the critical loads is termed an 'exceedance'. In the case of ozone, the risk is estimated by reference to the 'critical level' for ozone for each location. This is a concentration of ozone in the atmosphere, above which direct adverse effects on receptors, such as human beings, plants, ecosystems or materials, may occur according to present knowledge (ICP on Modelling and Mapping, 2015; UNECE, 2015). 
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