Navigation path

Magazine Environment for Europeans

Additional tools

  • Print version
  • Decrease text
  • Increase text
  • RSS
New Red Lists sound alarm for European birds and marine fishes

New Red Lists sound alarm for European birds and marine fishes

28/08/2015

Two new European Red Lists, providing the most detailed scientific evidence ever assembled on the state of Europe’s birds and marine fishes, were unveiled during Green Week 2015.

Green Week

 
Nature: the health centre of tomorrow

Nature: the health centre of tomorrow

24/07/2015

The idea that nature and human health are closely linked seems obvious; but translating this into policy is a challenge. Green Week 2015 heard new evidence about the need for environment and health departments to work together to find solutions.

Green Week

 
Biodiversity is indispensable for sustainable growth

Biodiversity is indispensable for sustainable growth

23/07/2015

Protecting and restoring ecosystems is vital for our long-term prosperity, and natural capital is an area with high potential for innovative investment. Green Week 2015 showcased some successful blending of biodiversity and economic objectives, while also seeking ways of drawing more funds towards preserving natural capital.

Green Week

 
A stock-taking of progress

A stock-taking of progress

20/07/2015

In 2011, the EU adopted an ambitious strategy with six targets to halt the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services by 2020. Five years before the target date, and with a mid-term review due in the coming months, Green Week panellists called for a common recognition of the challenges ahead and for coherent policy objectives to protect Europe’s biodiversity.

Green Week

 
Greening our cities

Greening our cities

17/07/2015

Green, healthy cities attract investment for innovation and can act as hubs for creativity and wealth creation. A Green Week panel considered some of the nature-based solutions devised by leading cities to tackle problems such as flooding and air, soil and water quality.

Green Week

 
Reconnecting with nature

Reconnecting with nature

15/07/2015

At a curtain-raiser to the week's events, a Green Week audience heard many constructive suggestions about moving beyond the current conflict between man and the environment. Could a “new world view” help redress the balance?

Green Week

 
Natura 2000: a network of people

Natura 2000: a network of people

13/07/2015

Natura 2000 is more than a network to protect areas of high biodiversity value: it is also a framework enabling communities to benefit from the ecosystem services they host. Green Week showcased examples of sustainable economic activities carried out in harmony with nature.

Green Week

 
Trade and biodiversity

Trade and biodiversity

10/07/2015

The European Union is the world’s biggest trading bloc. A Green Week Panel debated the impact that trade and Europe’s consumption of goods and natural resources are having on biodiversity across the planet.

Green Week

 
Keeping it simple

Keeping it simple

06/07/2015

Communicating complex concepts like biodiversity is not always easy, and getting people involved in protecting it is an even greater challenge. Green Week looked at ways of converting awareness of the importance of nature and biodiversity into more widespread engagement to protect it.

Green Week

 
A business coalition to protect biodiversity

A business coalition to protect biodiversity

03/07/2015

Private companies have a key role to play in protecting our natural capital. Green Week showcased a number of innovative technologies and good practices that are helping the EU reach its 2020 Biodiversity Strategy targets.

Green Week

 
Looking to the future

Looking to the future

24/06/2015

The EU’s natural habitats and biodiversity face multiple pressures. A Green Week session on ‘The future of nature’ assessed the latest trends, broadly agreeing that while there has been some progress, greater commitment will be needed.

Green Week

 
Protecting nature in the blue economy

Protecting nature in the blue economy

19/06/2015

Water covers 70 % of the Earth and many of Europe’s natural riches lie in the seas around its coasts. A Green Week session heard about efforts to build environmental safeguards into an expanded blue economy.

Green Week

 
Strengthening the nature agenda “is going to help us”

Strengthening the nature agenda “is going to help us”

15/06/2015

Green Week 2015 opened with a lively debate about the urgency and the challenges of protecting nature in Europe.

Green Week

 
Nature in the EU: ‘Could do better’

Nature in the EU: ‘Could do better’

22/05/2015

The latest State of Nature in the EU report reveals the conservation status of plants, animals and habitats across the European Union. It looks at the impact of the EU Birds and Habitats Directives, and whether the EU is on track to meet its target to halt the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services by 2020.

Nature and Biodiversity

 
Natural investments

Natural investments

18/05/2015

A recent conference considered the achievements of the EU’s strategy on green infrastructure, such as restored wetlands acting as both flood defences and biodiversity reserves. But there is a need for more investment to make the most of the economic and environmental benefits of such projects.

Nature and Biodiversity

 
Blueprint for a Paris climate change deal

Blueprint for a Paris climate change deal

13/05/2015

The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in December 2015 will decide how the world deals with the threat of climate change over the coming decades.

Climate action

 
Waking up to resource efficiency

Waking up to resource efficiency

11/05/2015

The European Commission’s Generation Awake campaign concluded this year after four years of engaging Europeans with upbeat messages on how to become more sustainable consumers and save natural resources. The campaign won a media industry award for its interactive house website and videos, which were viewed 10 million times.

Resource efficiency

 
Europe and China: 40 years of working together

Europe and China: 40 years of working together

07/05/2015

The European Union and China have been working together since they first established diplomatic relations 40 years ago. Over the decades, cooperation has steadily increased – especially in the field of environmental protection – building a stronger relationship between the EU and one of its most important trading partners.

International issues

 
Energy Union supports climate change targets

Energy Union supports climate change targets

24/04/2015

In March 2015, EU leaders approved European Commission proposals for an EU Energy Union with a forward-looking climate policy, to give households and businesses across Europe secure, sustainable and affordable energy.

Climate action

 
Improving European waters: steady progress but too slow

Improving European waters: steady progress but too slow

10/04/2015

Water is essential for life, and good management of water resources can be a source of ‘blue’ economic growth. A recent Commission Communication assesses how Member States are implementing legislation designed to ensure enough clean water for people, nature and the economy.

Water, Marine and Coast

 
More financing for natural capital projects

More financing for natural capital projects

31/03/2015

Biodiversity and ecosystems are not typical targets for investors and bankers. The Natural Capital Financing Facility wants to change this by putting finance in the service of nature, as a resource worthy of long-term investment rather than an asset to be stripped.

Funding and LIFE

 
2015: a big year for development… and for the environment

2015: a big year for development… and for the environment

26/03/2015

In 2015 the international community is supposed to take the decisions necessary to put the world on a course to living within planetary boundaries. Early in the year, the European Commission has set out its views on the worldwide effort needed to eradicate poverty, preserve the environment and boost sustainable growth. More than ever, it says, Europe must show leadership as a member of a global partnership.

International issues

 
Bees under threat

Bees under threat

25/03/2015

Domesticated bees are a familiar sight, and the threats facing honey bees are often in the news. But wild bees too are increasingly at risk. A new study of the status of all 1965 bee species in Europe hints that falling populations may be more widespread than we imagine.

Nature and Biodiversity

 
Carbon market: revised EU ETS delivers

Carbon market: revised EU ETS delivers

13/03/2015

Launched in 2005, the EU Emissions Trading System – the cornerstone of the EU’s strategy to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases – turns 10 this year. During 2015, the Commission will also put forward a proposal for a revision of the system to be applied in the next trading phase, which starts in 2021.

Climate action

 
EU action for a better environment

EU action for a better environment

12/03/2015

The European environment has just had a five-year health check. A new report shows that over the last 10 years, EU environment policy has delivered cleaner air and water, less landfill and more recycling of resources. But it also stresses that greater effort is needed if Europe is to reach the goal of ‘living well, within the limits of our planet’ by 2050.

Economics, Strategy and Information

 
Transport on track to cut emissions

Transport on track to cut emissions

11/03/2015

To combat climate change, Europe must reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport. The sector currently produces almost a quarter of all EU emissions – but European policies are turning the tide.

Climate action

 
Restoring the Upper Drava river

Restoring the Upper Drava river

13/02/2015

LIFE projects encouraged cooperation among water engineering, flood protection and nature conservation authorities to help restore the Upper Drava river in Austria.

Funding and LIFE

 
Green leaves sprout across Europe

Green leaves sprout across Europe

28/01/2015

A new award – the European Green Leaf initiative – will recognise efforts by medium-sized towns and cities to improve the environment and quality of life enjoyed by their citizens. The idea is to give smaller towns and cities a chance to share the benefits that the European Green Capital Award has offered larger cities since 2010.

Urban, Noise and Health

 
Foto © (c) Green4Cities

Business for biodiversity

24/12/2014

Business success can go hand in hand with protecting the environment. The European Business and Biodiversity (B@B) Platform held its first annual conference in November on the links between business and biodiversity.

Industry and Technology

 
Panel of the open plenary session of the COP 12 meeting in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea.

Delivering for biodiversity

23/12/2014

To protect the world’s natural resources, countries need to work together. Representatives from all over the world used the recent 12th Conference of the Parties ('COP 12') meeting to assess progress.

Nature and Biodiversity

 
Flooding in Central Europe

City mayors prepare for climate change

22/12/2014

More than 100 cities – from Albertslund in Denmark and Cork in Ireland, to Veria in Greece – have signed up to the European Commission’s ‘Mayors Adapt’ initiative on climate change adaptation.

Climate action

 
EU leads on climate action

EU leads on climate action

19/12/2014

EU Member States agreed in October to reduce their domestic greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 by at least 40 % compared to their 1990 emission levels. EU leaders also agreed to an EU-wide binding target for renewable energy – and an indicative one for energy efficiency – of at least 27 %.

Climate action

 
Winners ceremony for the European Business Awards for the Environment 2014

Winners of European Business Awards for the Environment

17/12/2014

EU Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Commissioner Karmenu Vella announced the winners of the European Business Awards for the Environment 2014/2015 at an evening ceremony on 1 December.

Industry and Technology

 
Melting glacier with rapids in dramatic mountain setting

Climate report: it is time to act

10/12/2014

In November, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published the Synthesis Report of its Fifth Assessment Report (AR5): the most comprehensive analysis of climate change ever undertaken, combining the work of hundreds of scientists around the world.

Climate action

 
EU environment ministers have agreed to strengthen environmental dimension of future growth plans

Greening the economy

05/12/2014

Building a more sustainable economy will drive growth and create jobs. European environment ministers have adopted conclusions to strengthen the environmental dimension of future growth plans.

Economics, Strategy and Information

 
Red swamp crayfish disrupt European river ecosystems by out-competing native species and spreading d

Alien invasion!

13/11/2014

When animals, plants or micro-organisms are introduced into a natural environment where they are not normally found, they can disturb native fauna and flora, causing damage costing millions of euros. A new EU Regulation to combat the problem of ‘invasive alien species’ comes into force in January 2015.

Nature and Biodiversity

 
European Business Awards for the Environment reward eco-innovation in businesses that combine enviro

Green business: the best of the best

05/11/2014

From sustainable fish and chips in compostable packaging to building insulation made from recycled waste paper – 16 companies from 10 EU and candidate countries have now been shortlisted for one of this year’s European Business Awards for the Environment.

Industry and Technology

 
Opportunities in emissions reductions

Opportunities in emissions reductions

03/11/2014

According to the 2014 New Climate Economy Report, the fight against climate change will create new opportunities to grow the economy. It is not a case of either emissions reduction or growth – they can be achieved side by side.

Climate action

 
Funding is available for cross-border management of floods

New LIFE for environment and climate projects

16/10/2014

In June, the European Commission launched its first call for proposals for projects to be funded by the new LIFE programme 2014-2020. This year, a total of over €280 million is available, including €44 million for climate action projects.

Funding and LIFE

 
Strong support for green policies

Strong support for green policies

15/10/2014

More than 95% of Europeans say that protecting the environment is important to them.
Green sectors of the economy continue to grow despite the economic crisis – showing that protecting the environment and maintaining competitiveness goes hand in hand. A new Eurobarometer survey confirms the overwhelming public support for environmental protection – with just 5% saying it was not important.

Economics, Strategy and Information

 
Setting Sustainable Development Goals

Setting Sustainable Development Goals

10/10/2014

The European Union and United Nations are working to establish Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a new framework to address global poverty and sustainable development for all in the years ahead.

International issues

 
The NER 300 funded CCS project will capture 90 % of CO2 emissions from the Drax power plant in Yorks

€1 billion boost for low-carbon technologies

14/08/2014

Nineteen ground-breaking clean energy projects are to be launched in 12 European countries, thanks to funding from an EU programme for low-carbon technologies.

Climate action

 
Grandmother and grandchildren (6-10) recycling bottles in garden

Raising the bar for recycling

12/08/2014

On 2 July 2014, as part of a range of proposals to accelerate Europe’s transition to a more circular economy, which seeks to maximise the value of the resources we all use, the European Commission proposed a review of recycling and other waste-related targets. The aim is to set more ambitious goals so as to cut waste and boost recycling, bringing resources that have been used once back into the economy so that they can be used again, thus further enhancing Europe’s competitiveness.

Waste

 
Green Grass House and Tools

Better, greener buildings

11/08/2014

On 2 July 2014, the European Commission adopted new proposals to improve the environmental performance of buildings throughout their life cycle, from design, construction, through operation, to demolition and recycling of their materials.

Waste

 
The EU is home to large carnivores such as the brown bear, wolf, wolverine and the Eurasian lynx

The wolves next door

08/08/2014

In many parts of Europe, people share their land and lives with bears, wolves and lynx. On 10 June 2014, the European Commission hosted the launch of the ‘EU Platform on Coexistence between People and Large Carnivores’.

Nature and Biodiversity

 
Truck on the road in the evening

Cutting CO2 emissions from heavy-duty vehicles

07/08/2014

The Commission has set out a strategy to curb fuel consumption and CO2 emissions from trucks, buses and coaches.

Climate action

 
Nine out of ten EU citizens sort paper, cardboard and beverage cartons – as well as plastics and g

Europeans call for less waste

07/08/2014

Most European citizens sort their rubbish for recycling at least some of the time. They think their country produces too much waste, and they say it is important that Europe uses its resources more efficiently.

Waste

 
Recycling symbol, toy trucks carrying recycled items

The road to a circular economy

06/08/2014

The European Commission is proposing a range of measures to accelerate Europe’s transition to a more circular economy. Through greater resource efficiency, and by turning waste into a resource, this new model has benefits for competitiveness, growth and employment, as well as the environment.

Economics, Strategy and Information

 
Medieval Ljubljana, Slovenia, Europe.

European Green Capital for Ljubljana

04/08/2014

The city of Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia, is to be the European Green Capital in 2016. The European accolade recognises the progress the city has made in improving the environment and quality of life of its inhabitants.

Urban, Noise and Health

 
Speakers at the New Environmentalism Summit at Green Week 2014

Fresh air for the environment

25/07/2014

Has progress towards a better environment ground to a halt? If so, what and who can trigger the changes needed? Is a ‘New Environmentalism’ likely to win the middle ground between the sceptical and the converted, and inspire the public's imagination? Green Week 2014 opened with a summit that brought together leaders from the arts, business, policy, academia and campaigners to debate how to make environment policies and actions more effective.

Economics, Strategy and Information, Green Week

 
The Green Week session on ‘New business models for sustainable lifestyles’

New greener business models

25/07/2014

What can business do to speed up the transition towards a more sustainable society? And how can it be made profitable for them? Experts discussed recent innovations and experiments, as well as the challenges still to come, during the Green Week session on ‘New business models for sustainable lifestyles’.

Economics, Strategy and Information, Green Week

 
Brussels , Belgium , 04 June 2014 - Green Week 2014 - Circular economy - scaling up best practices w

Sharing best practice

22/07/2014

The transition to a circular economy requires private and public sectors to work together, as well as international, national and local-level initiatives and policies. The Green Week session on ‘Circular economy: scaling up best practices worldwide’ was on the lookout for successes, examples and lessons from around the world.

Green Week, International issues

 
Eco and polluted city

Green urbanism

18/07/2014

High population density means that cities can be more resource-efficient than smaller agglomerations, with lower pollution and emissions per inhabitant, acting as hubs for innovation.

Green Week, Urban, Noise and Health

 
The Green Week session on ‘Creating the framework conditions for a circular economy’

Getting the framework right

15/07/2014

What obstacles prevent the EU from becoming a circular economy? How can we use targets, taxes, industrial policy and other instruments to address them? These were the issues discussed at the Green Week session on ‘Creating the framework conditions for a circular economy’.

Economics, Strategy and Information, Green Week

 
The Green Week session on Changing Behaviour

A nudge in the right direction

11/07/2014

Influencing the way people behave, so as to lessen their impact on the environment, is a complicated business. Money matters, but is not the only incentive.

Economics, Strategy and Information, Green Week

 
The Green Week Session on Green Jobs

Green jobs for inclusive growth

08/07/2014

A circular economy in Europe will need a skilled workforce, trained and equipped for greener jobs.

Economics, Strategy and Information, Green Week

 
The panel of the opening session of Green Week 2014

Setting the scene

04/07/2014

Moving to a circular economy requires systemic change, affecting all stakeholders in the value-chain, and substantial innovations in technology, organisation, and society as a whole. Green Week opened with an introductory session that set the framework for the discussions to come.

Green Week, Resource efficiency

 
The winners of the European Commission’s first-ever Natura 2000 Awards celebrate their success. ©

Pioneering Natura 2000 projects reap their rewards

23/05/2014

The five winners of the European Commission’s first-ever Natura 2000 Award celebrated their success at a prize-giving ceremony in Brussels on 21 May.

Nature and Biodiversity

 
Business is developing a green mentality

Developing a green business mentality

22/05/2014

A LIFE-funded project from Greece has demonstrated how banks can successfully support their client businesses to adapt to climate change. The Climabiz project has provided bank staff with tools to help businesses assess how they might be affected by climate change and how they can adapt their activities accordingly to improve their environmental and economic performance.

Funding and LIFE

 
Let’s Clean Up Europe! takes place on 10 May

Let’s Clean Up Europe!

22/05/2014

Millions of tonnes of litter end up in the oceans, on beaches, and scattered around forests and other natural areas every year – but European citizens are fighting back. Volunteers and grassroots initiatives across Europe are already making a difference by cleaning up local neighbourhoods and recycling litter. An EU-wide ‘Let’s Clean Up Europe!’ day on 10 May helped focus minds on the problem – and the solutions.

Waste

 
Commission welcomes Council's adoption of Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Regulation

Sharing access and benefits of genetic resources

21/05/2014

The Nagoya Protocol is an international agreement on access to genetic resources – such as potential new drugs that may lie hidden in plant DNA – and the fair and equitable sharing of their benefits. The European Council has adopted legislation to implement this agreement and given formal approval for the EU to ratify the Protocol.

Nature and Biodiversity

 
Environmental Technology Verification helps cutting-edge green technologies get to market

Helping cutting-edge green technologies to market

21/05/2014

Three new verification bodies – in Italy, Finland and the United Kingdom – have joined the EU Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) pilot programme. ETV offers independent performance verification for new environmental technologies – helping manufacturers and consumers in the market for green solutions. Accredited verification bodies can verify technologies and publish Statements of Verification.

Industry and Technology

 
EMAS Award winners

EMAS Awards reward ‘eco-innovation’

21/05/2014

To reduce our impact on the planet and its finite resources, we need to change the way we produce and consume – and we need to harness business, technology, services and innovation to do it. On 7 April, the European Commission awarded prizes to six outstanding organisations, recognising their excellent and innovative work under the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS).

Industry and Technology

 
The Panellists: Tommaso Sodano, Deputy Lord Mayor of Naples and Councillor for the Environment; Joos

Commission and cities to tackle climate change

21/05/2014

On 19 March, EU Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard launched Mayors Adapt, a new initiative inviting city leaders to commit to action in preparation for the challenges that the adverse impacts of climate change will bring to European cities.

Climate action

 
Climate change causes forest dieback

Climate change scientists highlight need for urgent global action

21/05/2014

Two authoritative new reports from the United Nations scientific panel on climate change show that international action to address impending global climate risks and challenges is more urgent than ever. Decisions taken now will influence the risks to human health, food security, water supply, biodiversity and social well-being until the end of the century.

Climate action

 
Green Week took place from 3 to 5 June in Brussels

Green Week 2014: jobs and the circular economy

21/05/2014

Communities, NGOs, public authorities and businesses all participated in the 2014 edition of Green Week, the biggest annual conference on European environment policy, which took place from 3 to 5 June in Brussels, Belgium. The theme this year was the circular economy, saving resources and creating jobs.

Waste

 
Boosting the biodiversity of Lithuania’s wetlands

Boosting the biodiversity of Lithuania’s wetlands

29/04/2014

Conservation measures carried out in the Žuvintas Biosphere Reserve in Lithuania have helped safeguard its rich fauna and flora by restoring large areas of bog, swamp wood and lake habitats.

Funding and LIFE

 
New Natura 2000 Award recognises excellence in nature conservation

New prize for nature conservation

29/04/2014

Europeans are strong believers in nature conservation. However, many are unaware of the things the EU is doing to protect our environment and biodiversity. The Commission has launched a new Natura 2000 Award to recognise excellence in nature conservation in the EU – and to increase public awareness of Natura 2000’s role in protecting our natural heritage, recognising its value to local economies. The winners will be announced at a high-level ceremony in Brussels on 21 May.

Nature and Biodiversity

 
From here to 2020: the EU’s new Environment Action Programme

From here to 2020: the EU’s new Environment Action Programme

29/04/2014

By 2050, Europeans will be living well, but respecting the planet’s ecological limits. That is the vision expressed in the European Union’s Seventh Environment Action Programme, adopted in November 2013 and set to guide policy until 2020.

Economics, Strategy and Information

 
European public see ‘green growth’ benefits of climate action

European public see ‘green growth’ benefits of climate action

18/04/2014

A recent survey shows that the European public recognises that fighting climate change and using energy more efficiently can boost the economy and employment. Most people also agree that reducing fossil-fuel imports from outside the EU could bring economic benefits.

Climate action

 
Commission proposes 40 % greenhouse gas emissions cut by 2030

Commission proposes 40 % greenhouse gas emissions cut by 2030

14/04/2014

The European Commission has proposed European Union climate and energy targets for 2030 – the next milestone on the road to building a competitive low-carbon economy by the middle of this century. The targets are at the heart of a proposed policy framework for the decade 2020-2030 that aims to make the EU’s energy system more competitive, secure and sustainable. EU leaders will decide on the goals at the latest in October.

Climate action

 
Pollution and overfishing threaten our seas’ health

Europe’s seas need to see action

24/03/2014

The first comprehensive study into the condition of Europe’s seas, six years after the EU’s pioneering Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) came into force, shows there is still ample cause for concern.

Water, Marine and Coast

 
Biodiversity – such as rhinoceros populations – is under threat due to poaching and wildlife tra

What to do about wildlife trafficking?

01/03/2014

Whether as trade in rhino horn, tiger skins and ivory, or illegal fishing and poaching, wildlife trafficking are on the increase. The new scale of the problem and its links to organised crime and political corruption mean that new measures are needed to address it. The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the matter, as part of a Communication published on 7 February 2014.

Nature and Biodiversity

 
air quality has improved since the 1970s, but still causes 400 000 premature deaths each year © Thi

Cleaner air, better health

01/03/2014

What could be more important than breathing? Despite enormous progress in reducing pollution, Europe still sees huge costs and an unacceptable number of deaths due to poor air quality. This is why the European Commission has proposed a package of policies for cleaner air, which if adopted by Council and Parliament will improve lives and save Europe billions.

Air

 
Freezeframe from video

Addressing the risks of shale gas

01/03/2014

Hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’ – using high-pressure fluids to extract shale gas from underground rock – has been in the news. To help address public concerns, safeguard the environment and ensure that these resources are used efficiently in Europe, the European Commission has recommended a set of key principles.

Industry and Technology

 
Richard Rubbish – the animated rubbish bin starring in the new video

Stop wasting waste: turning rubbish into a resource

01/03/2014

According to a study by the European Environment Agency, the EU loses €5 billion in non-recycled waste every year. Annually, we each throw away almost 180 kg of food alone. The European Commission’s Generation Awake campaign has been working to promote resource efficiency since its launch in 2011 – and a recently launched phase of the campaign has just given that message a boost, focusing on the hidden value of the things we treat as rubbish.

Resource efficiency

 
8 billion plastic bags end as litter every year

New proposals to reduce plastic bag use

26/02/2014

We all use plastic bags. In fact, Europeans get through almost 100 billion of them every year – with 8 billion ending up as litter. To tackle the environmental impact, the European Commission has proposed changes to EU regulation on waste.

Waste

 
© Shutterstock

Bringing innovation to water policy

10/02/2014

Water is a vital resource for life and our economy. But it faces many serious challenges ranging from scarcity and pollution to ecosystem degradation. To tackle these, the Commission is encouraging innovative solutions that will also create commercial opportunities for those developing them.

Water, Marine and Coast

 
© Shutterstock

Bringing plastic waste back into the economy

10/02/2014

The European Union must increasingly move towards a circular economy where products are reused and recovered, not thrown away, when they come to the end of their natural lives. That message came through loud and clear as leading experts examined how to tackle the growing problem of plastic waste at a recent conference on Plastic and Plastic Waste in a circular economy in Brussels.

Waste

 
© Shutterstock

New focus in fight against desertification

10/02/2014

International efforts to tackle desertification and promote sustainable land use received a significant boost at a biennial meeting of parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in Namibia in late September, when substantive decisions with active EU input were taken to give a new impetus to the Convention.

International issues

 
© Shutterstock

Clamping down on illegal waste shipments

10/02/2014

In recent years, national inspections have consistently shown that EU rules on shipping waste are systematically broken. The violations are a serious danger to human health and the environment. The Commission has presented a package of measures to deal with the problem and clamp down on illegal shipments.

Waste

 
© Shutterstock

Tackling CO2 emissions from shipping

10/02/2014

The European Commission has presented draft legislation in a first step towards reducing greenhouse gases from maritime transport. Under the proposal, owners of all ships over 5 000 gross tons using EU ports would, from January 2018, have to monitor and report a vessel’s annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Climate action

 
© Shutterstock

New scientific warning of worsening climate change

10/02/2014

The latest report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes in unequivocal terms that climate change is happening and that greenhouse gas emissions from human activity are overwhelmingly the dominant cause. It warns that climate change is on course to reach dangerous levels in the second half of this century unless emissions are significantly reduced.

Climate action

 
© LIFE06 ENV/D/000485

LIFE-demonstrated hydroelectric technology rolls out

10/02/2014

The ‘Moveable HEPP’ hydroelectric technology, demonstrated at two sites in Germany under a LIFE project, is now being widely implemented across Europe. Several large plants using the project’s patented technology are operational and more will follow.

Funding and LIFE

 
© Shutterstock

EU environment standards extended to Croatia

10/02/2014

On 1 July 2013, Croatia became the 28th member of the European Union. As a result, it has implemented almost the whole corpus of European legislation since that date. In areas where it has been given extra time to comply, it will have to respect legally binding timetables.

Environmental law

 
© Shutterstock

Moving from grey to green infrastructure

10/02/2014

Green Infrastructure works with nature to provide economic, social and ecological benefits. The underlying principle is that the same area of land can frequently offer multiple services if its ecosystems are healthy. The concept is now being integrated into a range of EU policy areas as the Commission actively promotes the strategy it set out in its May 2013 Communication.

Land use and Soil

 
© Shutterstock: arindambanerjee

EU push for global action on aviation emissions bears fruit

10/02/2014

Civil aircraft flying in Europe’s regional airspace will be covered by the EU’s emissions trading system (ETS) from the beginning of January 2014 once the necessary legislation is approved in the coming months. The new arrangements will remain in place until 2020 when a worldwide emissions system is due to begin

Climate action

 
© Shutterstock

Eco-management: EU leads the way

01/06/2013

The Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS), introduced in 1993, is a valuable tool for companies and other organisations to evaluate and improve their environmental performance. Preparations are now being made to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the scheme and the first companies that signed up to EMAS in 1995.

Industry and Technology

 
© Shutterstock

Promoting eco-innovation

01/06/2013

The Eco-Innovation Action Plan invested EUR 433 million between 2008 and 2013 to encourage the development and uptake of innovation that benefits the environment and creates growth and jobs. The Action Plan is a place where the environment and business meet to create sustainable solutions to environmental challenges while serving the economy as a whole.

Industry and Technology

 
© Shutterstock

SEIS: supporting evidence-based environmental policy

01/06/2013

The Shared Environmental Information System (SEIS) plays a key role in strengthening the knowledge base of EU environmental policies. It sets out principles to generate and share data and tackles obstacles which hinder access to the information available. It is constantly evolving and a recent Commission paper indicates how it can be taken to a new level.

Economics, Strategy and Information

 
© Shutterstock

Clamping down on invasive alien species

01/06/2013

Invasive alien species (IAS) are one of the most important causes of biodiversity loss, damage to ecosystem services and threats to fragile ecosystems, such as islands. They can also harm human health and the economy. To prevent and tackle the destruction they wreak, the Commission has proposed legislation to ensure a coordinated response by national authorities across the European Union.

Nature and Biodiversity

 
© Shutterstock

Two-step approach to stabilise carbon market

01/06/2013

The European Commission has presented a twin-track strategy to reform the Union’s emissions trading system (ETS). This addresses the growing surplus of allowances due to the economic crisis by proposing some short-term measures and triggering debate on longer-term structural changes.

Climate action

 
© Shutterstock

A 2030 framework for climate and energy policy

01/06/2013

The EU is already making good progress towards achieving the energy and climate targets it has set itself for 2020. The time has come to focus further ahead. The Commission has started the process by publishing a green paper to stimulate wide-ranging debate on the framework which should steer energy and climate policies up to 2030.

Climate action

 
© Alexander Vlad

Moving climate action up several gears

01/06/2013

The Doha climate change conference last December accelerated the campaign against global warming into a new phase, setting out a clear timetable for more ambitious action. The European Commission is now heavily engaged in ensuring that the commitments made will be honoured in practice.

Climate action

 

Building the single market for green products

01/06/2013

The single market for goods and services is one of the EU’s major strengths. However, it is far from being a reality for green products which have to apply different national schemes to validate their environmental performance. The absence of uniform procedures increases company costs and consumer confusion. A Commission initiative provides a solution.

Industry and Technology

 
@Emmanuel Bourgeau

Nantes breaking new ground

01/06/2013

The city of Nantes is the first French winner of the prestigious European Green Capital Award. This recognises efforts to combine respect for the environment with excellent quality of life for residents and promotion of local economic growth. As 2013 laureate, Nantes is using this platform to lead by example to encourage the trend towards greener living both at home and more widely across Europe.

Urban, Noise and Health

 
© Shutterstock: arindambanerjee

Merging poverty and sustainable development goals

01/06/2013

The Millennium Development Goals have been a powerful tool to tackle global poverty, but they will need to be renewed in 2015. In parallel, last summer’s Rio+20 conference launched an initiative to formulate Sustainable Development Goals. The European Commission believes both processes should be merged. A recent communication sets out how this integrated approach can be achieved.

International issues

 
© Shutterstock

Strategy to reduce plastic waste

01/06/2013

Plastic is one of the most common materials in our daily lives. It is used for a wide range of purposes because it is cheap, versatile, light and durable. However, those very characteristics make it extremely hard to dispose of. The European Commission is now developing a strategy for coping with plastic waste and has asked for input from experts and nonexperts alike.

Waste

 
© Shutterstock

REACH rules making presence felt

01/06/2013

European legislation that came into force six years ago has made the use of chemicals in the European Union considerably safer, according to a new Commission report. While noting that improvements can still be made in the implementation of the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical substances (REACH), it concludes that no changes in its main terms need to be considered at present.

Chemicals

 
© Shutterstock

Montreal Protocol: 25 years protecting the ozone layer

01/03/2013

Adopted in 1987, the Montreal Protocol has stimulated major progress in protecting the world’s ozone layer over the past quarter of a century. Its mission is not yet accomplished, but its successes and the way it has achieved them could provide valuable lessons to address other global challenges such as climate change.

Climate action