Publications

Electric vehicles from life cycle and circular economy perspectives - TERM 2018

Through the Transport and Environment Reporting Mechanism (TERM) report, the EEA has been monitoring progress in integrating environmental objectives in transport since 2000. The TERM report provides information to the EEA's member countries, the EU and the public. The TERM includes several indicators used for tracking the short- and long-term environmental performance of the transport sector and for measuring progress towards meeting key transport-related policy targets. Since 2017, the indicator-based assessment component of the TERM report has been published as a separate briefing.

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The circular economy and the bioeconomy — Partners in sustainability

This is the third in a series of reports on the circular economy in support of the framing, implementation and evaluation of European circular economy policy from an environmental perspective. The two previous reports applied a systemic approach to framing a circular economy and to the products within it. This report on the bioeconomy addresses circularity aspects of bio-based products and the sustainable use of renewable natural resources.

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Perspectives on transitions to sustainability

The overall ambition of this report is to provide an initial analytical overview of framings, conceptualisations and selected analytical tools relating to sustainability transitions and transformations, bringing together insights from multiple academic communities. The report aims to illustrate how these different perspectives relate to each other and to begin to explore what potential guidance they offer for policymaking and governance more broadly.

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Aviation and shipping — impacts on Europe's environment TERM 2017

Domestic and international aviation and shipping are key components of Europe's mobility system. They are both economic sectors that directly bring many societal and economic benefits, such as the delivery of a wide range of goods and services and provision of employment and mobility for personal leisure or business purposes. However, from the broader environmental perspective, both sectors are also seen as challenging, because increasing demand within each of the sectors is exerting increasing pressures on the environment and climate. Their joint consideration in this TERM 2017 report also reflects key similarities, opportunities and challenges between them.

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Renewable energy in Europe 2017 — Recent growth and knock-on effects

This report provides an overview of progress in renewable energy in Europe, based on official statistics until 2015 and preliminary estimates for 2016.

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Green infrastructure and flood management

Promoting cost-efficient flood risk reduction via green infrastructure solutions.

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Food in a green light - A systems approach to sustainable food

This report takes a food system approach to analyse European production, consumption and trade of food, and associated environmental and human health aspects. Understanding the patterns, processes and actors involved allows for more coherent and effective policy interventions to reduce environmental pressures along the value chain, with potential co-benefits to human health and well-being. The report addresses both terrestrial and aquatic food production and goes beyond the environmental impact and economic performance of agriculture and fisheries. The focus is on long-term sustainability objectives, as laid down in the 2050 vision of the Seventh Environment Action Programme and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

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Landscapes in transition — An account of 25 years of land cover change in Europe

Landscape is one of the most precious assets contributing to Europe's cultural identity. As landscape is determined to a large extent by land use, the study of land use changes, especially through changes in the land cover, provides clues to the drivers of the transitions that landscape is currently going through. New data on land cover change in Europe up to 2012 show that total land cover change increased from the 2000‑2006 period to the 2006‑2012 period.

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Circular by design - Products in the circular economy

This report explores the circular economy from a product perspective, applying a systemic approach and transition theory. Drivers of product design and usage are discussed in the context of emerging consumption trends and business models. For governance to be effective, it has to address the product life-cycle and the societal context determining it. Indicators and assessment tools are proposed that can help fill the current data and knowledge gaps.

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Renewable energy in Europe 2017: recent growth and knock-on effects

Addressing climate change requires a globally coordinated, long-term response across all economic sectors. The 2015 Paris Agreement provides the framework for limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and for pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Early in this process, the European Union has adopted ambitious and binding climate and energy targets for 2020 and 2030. Member States have set the strategic objective of building an Energy Union, which aims to provide affordable, secure and sustainable energy (European Council, 2014) and which has a forward‑looking climate policy at its core (European Council, 2015). The most recent package of legislative measures, adopted by the European Commission in November 2016, aims to consolidate and match national climate and energy efforts, and facilitate the delivery of the 2030 targets for climate, energy efficiency and renewable energy sources (RES). This report provides information about progress in RES in 2014 at the EU, country, energy market sector and RES technology levels.

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Financing urban adaptation to climate change

This report shows that, although cities and municipalities across Europe increasingly acknowledge the need to adapt to climate change, meeting the costs of measures for adaptation remains very often a major challenge. Nevertheless, the report presents examples of several cities and municipalities that have found innovative ways of financing adaptation and implementing measures. These range from classic funds to more innovative financing mechanisms, including crowdfunding and green bonds. These solutions could be relevant for other cities, towns and smaller municipalities, and the examples are meant as an inspiration to learn from.

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Mapping Europe's environmental future: understanding the impacts of global  megatrends at the national level

This report sets out the logic for identifying the implications of Global Mega Trends at the national, regional or European level, and aims to provide inspiration to EEA member and cooperating countries to undertake their own national studies. It describes the context and the reasons why understanding global trends is important, and sets out a suggested methodology for doing so.

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Climate change, impacts and vulnerability in Europe 2016

This report is an indicator-based assessment of past and projected climate change and its impacts on ecosystems and society. It also looks at society’s vulnerability to these impacts and at the development of adaptation policies and the underlying knowledge base. This is the fourth ‘Climate change, impacts and vulnerability in Europe’ report, which is published every four years. This edition aims to support the implementation and review process of the 2013 EU Adaptation Strategy, which is foreseen for 2018, and the development of national and transnational adaptation strategies and plans.

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Transitions towards a more sustainable mobility system - TERM 2016

The EEA’s new report ‘TERM 2016: Transitions towards a more sustainable mobility system’ assesses the progress European Union Member States are making to improve the environmental performance of transport in line with related EU policy targets. The report also looks at the big changes underway in the sector, from emerging technologies like electric and driverless cars, or recent practices that have caught on, like shared or on-demand online mobility services for commuters. The report stresses that transport activity in the years ahead will continue to put pressure on the environment if action isn’t taken to make transport sustainable.

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Sustainability transitions: Now for the long term

This report was developed in cooperation with the European Environment Information and Observation Network (Eionet) — a partnership network of the EEA and its member and cooperating countries involving more than 1 000 experts and 350 national institutions across Europe. Drawing on evidence collected from across the network, the report represents an initial attempt to explore what the concepts of sustainability transitions and transformations mean in practice, and how the EEA and Eionet can help develop the knowledge needed to support systemic change in Europe. Case studies are used to explain and illustrate key concepts and to give a sense of what activities are already under way at local levels. The report concludes with reflections from the EEA's Scientific Committee and Executive Director, which provide further insights into the new knowledge needs and the potential role of the EEA and Eionet in responding to them.

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Rivers and lakes in European cities

Most European cities have at least one river or lake crossing their urban landscape. Urbanisation has come at a cost to rivers and lakes, as they have been heavily degraded to enable development, carry waste, supply drinking water and facilitate transport and industry.

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Urban adaptation to climate change in Europe 2016 — Transforming cities in a changing climate

This report builds on and complements existing products and initiatives on urban adaptation in Europe. It focuses on the state of actions in the field and progress achieved since the first EEA report in 2012, and it considers this analysis in relation to current challenges: Do existing actions lead to attractive, climate-resilient cities and if not, what needs to be changed? The report aims to broaden perspectives and provide input to a review and subsequent adjustment of urban adaptation to climate change by local governments and by supporting regional, national and European institutions, researchers and other relevant stakeholders.

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Communication, environment and behaviour

A scoping study on the links between public communication, environment policy implementation and behavioural science. In its Multiannual Work Programme 2014-2018, the EEA highlights the need for a transition towards a more sustainable society, fully aligned with the European Union’s 7th Environment Action Programme. This study explores - and aims to develop - the role of public communication to improve the implementation of environmental legislation and to contribute to this debate by bringing communications, environment and behaviour closer. It draws from other EEA work, in particular on consumption and policy evaluation where relevant.

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Urban sprawl in Europe - joint EEA-FOEN report

This report provides a comparable measurement of urban sprawl for 32 European countries at three levels (the country level, the NUTS-2 region level and the 1-km2 cell level) and for two years (2006 and 2009). The analysis is based on the Copernicus system which monitors the Earth and collects data by different sources. This data provides information about a number of thematic areas, including land. Under land a pan-European component delivers information about various areas, including the level of sealed soil (imperviousness), through high resolution layers taken from satellite imagery. The analysis uses new urban sprawl metrics taking into account the way built-up areas are laid out and how they are used. It also looks at the factors which contribute to an increase or decrease in urban sprawl. The results confirm the conclusions of earlier EEA reports namely that in many parts of Europe current levels of urban sprawl have contributed to detrimental ecological, economic and social effects. This gives cause for concern and such effects may increase alongside planned urban development.

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Urban sustainability issues —   What is a resource-efficient city?

The report introduces the concept of urban metabolism, the circular model and the role of compactness in urban resource efficiency. Cities require natural resources and energy to sustain the activities and daily life of the urban population. Nevertheless, there are opportunities to minimise the use of resources needed to sustain urban life and to reduce waste and emissions. As the urban form shapes the way people live, work and move, compact cities offer great potential to reduce the dependence on natural resources and energy. Urban planning, based on a vision of the future and developed with local stakeholders and crossing administrative borders, is a key factor in increasing the density of urban areas.

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