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Shaping the post-Corona planet: knowledge on Europe's environment and climate

Article Published 15 Jun 2020 Last modified 07 Sep 2020
2 min read
What should a post-corona planet look like? How have corona measures impacted the environment and climate? Can we rebuild our economy on sustainable and fair foundations? As we take steps towards rebuilding society opening the economy, we are faced with fundamental choices that will shape the future. This portal aims to bring together knowledge and reflections from across Europe and beyond, and to facilitate an informed debate towards a sustainable planet.

Everything around us has changed at an unprecedented pace in a short space of time: social interactions, work life, education, vacations, jobs opportunities and digital connectivity. The future ahead is equally filled with many uncertainties. But in these trying times, we should never forget the impressive strength, resilience and solidarity we have demonstrated as individuals, families and as part of a global community. Together we can act, innovate, adapt and move forwards. We need to do that in a sustainable way.

Hans Bruyninckx, EEA Executive Director

  Explore what we know

Together with our partners across Europe, we aim to compile and give access to different initiatives, policies and research projects linking COVID-19 to the environment and climate change. 

 

  Debate corner 

The EEA is organising a series of online debates, aimed at bringing expert knowledge and reflections on this topic to wider audiences. Find more information on upcoming events.

 

Like the rest of the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a heavy toll on human health and the economy in Europe. Cities were locked down for months and many activities came to a halt. As medical services tended to those in need, millions of Europeans stayed at home, factories and stores closed down, flights and cultural events were cancelled, and borders were closed. Have we observed any short-term impacts on the environment? What can we expect in the long term? How can we move forwards?

Framed within well-defined policy targets, public funds can help Europe transform its economy while achieving climate-neutrality and sustainability and addressing social inequalities. Throughout this transition period, knowledge will play a key role in ensuring that these funds are allocated to coherent actions towards this shared vision.

  • Read more in the editorial, dated June 2020, by Hans Bruyninckx, EEA Executive Director


What we know at a glance 

Air quality improved but effects might be short-lived

The European Environment Agency’s data confirm large decreases in air pollutant concentrations — of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations in particular — largely due to reduced traffic and other activities, especially in major cities under lockdown measures. Reductions of around half have been seen in some locations.

Europe can rebuild its economy and achieve sustainability and climate-neutrality 

On 27 May 2020, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen presented the Recovery Plan for Europe and a new financial instrument Next Generation EU to support the economy to the European Parliament. The Recovery Plan is closely aligned with the policy initiatives covered by the European Green Deal 

Transforming the economy remains the key to achieving long-term climate objectives

"Without a fundamental transformation of our production and consumption systems, any emission reduction triggered by such economic crises is likely to be short-lived and come at an extremely high cost to society. Europe aims to achieve climate neutrality through gradual and irreversible emission reductions and by setting long-term objectives to build a resilient economy and a resilient society, and not through disruptive shocks. This current crisis shows why we also need the transition to be a just one, offering new opportunities and support to those most affected."

  • Read more in the editorial, dated March 2020, by Hans Bruyninckx, EEA Executive Director
Explore all knowledge we have on COVID-19 links to key environmental issues.

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