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Investigating Europe′s secondary raw material markets

Secondary raw material (SRM) markets are crucial for a circular economy. This is because SRMs enable recyclables to re-enter the production value chain, which reduces dependency on primary resources as a result. This role is acknowledged in the EU circular economy action plan of 2020. However, if policy is to help establish or further develop such markets, we need to better understand the currently-fragmented SRM markets in the EU.

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From source to sea — The untold story of marine litter

We’ve all seen the photos. Piles of plastic waste drifting in the open sea. A daily tide of plastic and other detritus washed up on our beaches. Scenes of turtles and fish tangled in discarded fishing nets. Yet all of it is preventable. This web report traces the problem of marine litter from source to sea to help policymakers and citizens understand what we can do about it.

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Soil monitoring in Europe – Indicators and thresholds for soil health assessments

A tremendous effort has been already invested in soil monitoring in Europe, at country and at EU levels. However, there is no comprehensive and updated body of knowledge for identifying healthy soils and those that are degraded and require protection.

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Single programming document 2023-2025

SPD 2023-2025 adopted by EEA’s Management Board at its 97th meeting on 8th December 2022

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Advancing towards climate resilience in Europe: status of reported national adaptation actions in 2021

Advancing towards climate resilience in Europe: status of reported national adaptation actions in 2021

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Managing non-packaging plastics in European waste streams

Plastic is used in many ways and in large quantities across Europe. Environmental concerns make this a key focus for policy. Currently, most policy actions focus on plastic packaging, even though a large proportion of plastics are used for non-packaging applications, such as construction, furniture and consumer electronics. Improved reporting on the flows of non-packaging plastics is needed to inform the development of effective policies and measures that target this significant waste stream and increase resource efficiency, in line with the aims of the circular economy action plan.

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Zero pollution

Zero pollution

08 Dec 2022

The zero pollution action plan is a cornerstone of the EU’s ambitions to improve the well-being and health of citizens and future generations under the European Green Deal. It sets out the vision that by 2050, the EU should have reduced pollution to the extent that it no longer harms human health and natural ecosystems. This is translated into key 2030 targets to speed up reducing pollution at source. The European Environment Agency has produced this zero pollution monitoring assessment to assess progress towards these targets and to support the Commission in the delivery of the long-term vision of a non-toxic environment.

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Financing nature as a solution

Biodiversity is strongly declining in Europe and across the world. To reverse this, we need to use all available tools to strengthen actions taken by governments, businesses and consumers. Public policy tools (such as establishing nature reserves, regulating hunting and fishing, and providing support for biodiversity-friendly farming) are widely used to tackle biodiversity loss. However, the actions of consumers and businesses are also very important. This briefing focuses on key areas for further development to build the knowledge that is needed to finance biodiversity.

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Methane emissions in the EU: the key to immediate action on climate change

This briefing provides an overview of the key sources of methane (CH4) in the EU and the trends in and drivers of emissions since 1990. It looks at projections, policies and measures implemented, and relevant EU legislation in force and forthcoming. It also describes the main EU and international policy processes for reducing CH4 emissions, which contribute to achieving the objectives of the Paris Agreement and climate neutrality. The EEA has developed a ‘methane emissions’ visualisation tool to underpin the briefing, where users can see countries’ CH4 emissions as reported in their greenhouse gas inventories.

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EEA Signals 2022 — Staying on course for a sustainable Europe

EEA Signals 2022 takes a broad look at energy and sustainability in a Europe that recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, faced with a war in Ukraine and committed to ambitious goals on protecting the climate, nature and people’s health.

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Air quality in Europe 2022

Air pollution is the largest environmental health risk in Europe and significantly impacts the health of the European population, particularly in urban areas. While emissions of key air pollutants and their concentrations in ambient air have fallen significantly over the past two decades in Europe, air quality remains poor in many areas.

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Cooling buildings sustainably in Europe: exploring the links between climate change mitigation and adaptation, and their social impacts

Across Europe, rising temperatures, combined with an ageing population and urbanisation, mean that the population is becoming more vulnerable to heat and that demand for cooling in buildings is rising rapidly. Buildings, as long-lasting structures, can offer protection from heatwaves and high temperatures if appropriately designed, constructed, renovated and maintained. The summer of 2022, with its successive long heatwaves and high energy prices, may have raised the sense of urgency given to the alleviation of heat stress. But there is a gap in knowledge on the extent of overheating in buildings and data and information is scarce regarding the share of EU citizens unable to keep their homes comfortably cool during the summer. This briefing examines key elements of sustainable cooling policy, and its potential impacts on vulnerable groups, by reducing health risks, inequalities and summer energy poverty.

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Climate change as a threat to health and well-being in Europe: focus on heat and infectious diseases

This report draws on knowledge developed for the European Climate and Health Observatory. It focuses on the impact high temperatures are having on the population, as well as another emerging threat: the spread of climate-sensitive infectious diseases.

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Energy Prosumers and Cities

In an increasingly urbanised world, cities and municipalities play a key role in the energy transition and the decarbonisation of society. Prosumers (producers-consumers) of renewable energy can help accelerate this transition in cities. This briefing builds on recent EEA work on prosumption by focusing on the challenges and opportunities that urban areas present, and on how local authorities can promote prosumption in their cities.

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Trends and projections in Europe 2022

This report explores the historical trends, most recent progress and projected future paths towards mitigating climate change through reduced greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy gains and improved energy efficiency. It builds on data reported by the 27 EU Member States (EU-27), Iceland and Norway.

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Environmental Statement report 2021

The EEA's annual environmental statement report for 2021 conforms to requirements stipulated in the EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) Regulation (2). It contains information on the EEA's environmental management system (EMS), its environmental performance in the year 2021, and the updated environmental targets and an action plan for 2022. The EEA has published an annual environmental statement on its website since 2009.

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EEA Annual Accounts for the year 2021

Annual accounts for the European Environment Agency, financial year 2021

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Urban sustainability in Europe - Post-pandemic drivers of environmental transitions

It is becoming increasingly clear that the complex and interrelated challenges of climate change, environmental degradation and rising inequality will not be solved without a fundamental transformation of our societies. Many systemic environmental and social challenges are felt acutely in cities, and the COVID-19 pandemic showed the vulnerability of cities and the need for urban resilience.

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Rethinking agriculture

While global food chains, market competition, industrial processes and increasing productivity have turned agriculture into a profitable economic sector, it is also one of the biggest contributors to environmental and sustainability challenges in Europe and worldwide. In tandem, the COVID-19 pandemic, recent geopolitical developments in Europe and socio-economic trends have driven attention towards agriculture and food systems. Considering these new challenges, it is even more urgent to rethink agriculture and food systems to make them resilient and sustainable. This briefing reflects on what makes agriculture unsustainable today — and the types of agriculture we may want to preserve and support.

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Reimagining the food system through social innovations

Food systems require urgent and profound transformation to become sustainable, both in Europe and worldwide. Social innovation plays a pivotal role in transforming today’s food systems into ones that are economically and socially feasible, and sustainable within planetary boundaries. This briefing presents the results of a systematic examination of emerging social innovations across the food chain, conducted using horizon scanning, a tool to detect early signs of potentially important developments. It offers insights into the experimentation taking place in alternative ways to produce, trade and consume food.

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