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EEA-Eionet Strategy 2021-2030: delivering data and knowledge to achieve Europe’s climate and environment ambitions

Our joint Strategy indicates our direction of travel. It introduces a new way of working together and creating knowledge — more agile, more responsive, more pro-active, more actionable — befitting the challenges we will face and the knowledge we will need in the decade to come.

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Health and environment, including air and noise pollution — Putting EEA’s work in the spotlight

Air pollution, noise pollution and the impacts of climate change are key risks to the everyday health and well-being of Europeans. We talked with Catherine Ganzleben, head of group, air pollution, environment and health, Alberto González, EEA air quality expert, and Eulalia Peris, EEA noise pollution expert to find out more on what the EEA is doing to improve knowledge in this important field of work.

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How green are the new biodegradable, compostable and bio-based plastic products now coming into use?

We know that plastic pollution and plastic waste are a big environmental problem. In recent years, new plastic products have been introduced on the market, claiming to be better for the environment. A recently published European Environment Agency (EEA) briefing assesses their environmental credentials. To find out more, we sat down with Almut Reichel, a sustainable resource use and waste expert at the EEA.

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The EEA’s European environment — state and outlook 2020 report plays a key role in supporting Europe’s renewed drive to sustainability

Earlier this month the European Environment Agency published its ‘European environment — state and outlook 2020 (SOER 2020)’ report. It concluded that Europe will not achieve its 2030 goals without urgent action during the next 10 years to address the alarming rate of biodiversity loss, increasing impacts of climate change and the overconsumption of natural resources. It also offered some key solutions, which would help put Europe back on course to meet those targets. We sat down with Tobias Lung, the EEA’s SOER coordination and assessment expert, to discuss the role of SOER 2020.

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Time to act for climate, nature and people

The year 2019 will be remembered as a turning point for climate and environment action in Europe. Millions of Europeans and others worldwide have been demonstrating and urging policy makers to take action. Evidence-based scientific assessments, including the European Environment Agency’s state of environment report (SOER 2020), stressed the magnitude of the challenges ahead and the urgent need to act. These calls are now turning into a policy roadmap. The European Green Deal presented by the European Commission is a promising start for the critical decade ahead.

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SOER 2020 - At a glance

The European environment — state and outlook 2020 (SOER 2020) comes at a crucial time of urgent sustainability challenges that require urgent systemic solutions. The overarching challenge of this century is how we achieve development across the world that balances societal, economic and environmental considerations. Sustainability needs to become the guiding principle for ambitious and coherent policies and actions across society.

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Climate change adaptation is key to future of farming in Europe

This past summer’s heatwaves and extreme weather events have broken new climate records in Europe once again reinforcing the importance of climate change adaptation. We sat down with Blaz Kurnik, a European Environment Agency (EEA) expert on climate change impacts and adaptation to discuss the EEA’s new report on how climate change is impacting agriculture in Europe which came out earlier this month.

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Making sustainability happen: new European policies offer a unique opportunity

Ursula von der Leyen, president-elect of the European Commission, set her team’s political priorities for the next five years. A European Green Deal, outlining more ambitious action on climate and biodiversity crises, is at the heart of her agenda. European policies have long tackled environmental degradation and climate change with some success and some failures. Supported by growing calls for action by the public, this new policy term — with the new European Commission and Parliament — provides a unique opportunity to scale up and speed up a green and just transition for Europe.

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EEA turns 25: Building on experience to achieve sustainability in Europe

What will Europe’s environment look like in 25 years? Will we achieve our common vision of ‘living well, within the limits of our planet’? Will we be able to limit global warming and build climate-resilient cities surrounded by healthy nature? Europeans are increasingly concerned as recent European Parliament elections showed. Europe’s next generation is also calling for urgent action, but how will their demands for a sustainable future shape Europe’s environment and socio-economic policies? On our 25th anniversary, we are reflecting on how Europe’s environmental knowledge and policy have developed in the last 25 years and how we, the EEA together with its networks, can support efforts towards sustainability in the next 25 years.

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Prevention is crucial to tackling plastic waste crisis

Plastic waste remains a huge and growing problem. But what is the European Union doing to address the issue? Ioannis Bakas, the EEA’s waste prevention expert gives a brief overview of the EEA’s report on preventing plastic waste in Europe, which was published earlier this month.

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Healthy environment is a must for sustainable economy and equitable society

Our planet is facing unprecedented challenges to its environment and climate, which together threaten our well-being. Yet, it is not too late to take decisive action. The task might seem daunting but we still have the possibility to reverse some of the negative trends, adapt to minimise harm, restore crucial ecosystems and protect much stronger what we still have. To achieve long-term sustainability, we need to approach the environment, climate, economy and society as inseparable parts of the same entity.

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EEA: 25 years of growing knowledge to support European environment policies

The European Union (EU) has one of the most ambitious sets of environment and climate targets in the world, covering a wide range of policy areas from air quality, waste and water quality to energy and transport. Based on data reported by Member States, the European Environment Agency helps to monitor progress and identify the areas where additional efforts are needed. Since its establishment 25 years ago, the EEA has been developing its data and knowledge work to support policy making in Europe.

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Investing for sustainability

The European Commission has recently adopted a package of legal proposals to boost sustainable finance in the European Union (EU). The Commission’s proposals build upon recommendations by the High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance, composed of experts from civil society, the finance sector, academia and European and international institutions. We spoke to the European Environment Agency’s (EEA) representative in the Expert Group, Andreas Barkman, who works on strategic advice on climate change and energy issues.

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Tracking Europe’s progress on meeting 2020 climate and energy targets

The European Union (EU) has committed to several climate and energy targets which aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy efficiency and boost the use of renewable energy sources. How does the EEA track the progress EU Member States are making in reaching these goals? We asked Melanie Sporer, EEA expert on climate change mitigation and energy, to explain the Agency’s role in this task. She has also explained the annual progress in the latest Trends and Projections report.

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Climate change in Europe: Responding to disasters and preparing for an uncertain future

Floods, strong winds, heatwaves, droughts… Climate change and climate-change related extreme weather events are a cause of a growing concern not only in Europe but everywhere in the world. Many communities are affected by such extreme events and have to take measures to prevent and minimise the harm. How can communities adapt to a changing climate and prepare for and respond to climate-related disasters? We interviewed Sergio Castellari, EEA expert on climate change impacts, vulnerability and adaptation.

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Shaping the future of energy in Europe: Clean, smart and renewable

Our quality of life depends, among other things, on a reliable supply of energy at an affordable price. We use energy to heat and cool our homes, to cook and preserve our food, to travel and to build schools, hospitals and roads. We use machines to carry out numerous tasks, contributing to our wealth and wellbeing, and machines need energy. We still burn fossil fuels to obtain most of the energy we use. Moreover, we waste a substantial part of this energy before and during use.

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Circular economy in Europe: we all have a role to play

To most people the idea of a circular economy remains an abstract if not far-off concept. While ‘going green’ is a growing popular theme around the world, many people are not yet aware of the greater changes to our way of living that will have to be made to ensure a sustainable future, and secure our long-term well-being.

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Noise pollution in the spotlight

In April, the European Environment Agency will help raise awareness of the growing problem of noise pollution across Europe. We discussed with Colin Nugent, an EEA noise pollution expert, the very real health impacts of noise which are often underestimated.

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Effective policies are based on a robust knowledge base and solid science

At all governance levels, public policy making entails making decisions between different options and approaches. Some decisions, such as to invest in fossil fuels or renewables, might involve selecting one option over the other. Others might address the ‘how’ question – we will invest in renewables but which ones are the best for the society? Each policy decision results in outcomes, some of which might be unforeseen, unexpected or even detrimental to those whose lives it is supposed to improve. In the long term, the overall harm can be much larger than gains in the short term. To achieve the positive and lasting results on the ground, policy makers need to be able to make informed decisions, after assessing the benefits and costs of each available option.

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Environmental knowledge of the future

The European environmental data landscape has changed considerably over the last four decades. The complex nature of environmental degradation calls for more systemic analysis and relevant data to underpin it. In recent years, the European Environment Agency’s work has increasingly included systemic analyses. The EEA will continue to identify emerging issues and help expand Europe’s environmental knowledge.

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