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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

 
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

 
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

 
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

 
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

 
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

 
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: 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

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

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

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

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

 
© Shutterstock

Reducing motor vehicles’ CO2 emissions

01/03/2013

Motor vehicles are one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gases. The EU has already agreed mandatory targets for reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from new vans and cars by 2020. Now, the Commission has put forward proposals setting out how these targets will be achieved.

Climate action

 
© Shutterstock

Minimising climate impact from biofuels

01/03/2013

Biofuels can contribute significantly to the EU’s 2020 targets for renewable energy and reduced greenhouse gas emissions from road fuels. However, to have a positive impact on climate change, biofuels must be produced sustainably, with minimum competition with food and feed production. To achieve this, the Commission has proposed measures to limit the amount of biofuels from food crops that can be counted towards the 2020 targets.

Climate action

 
© Shutterstock

Phasing out environmentally damaging subsidies

01/03/2013

Environmentally harmful subsidies are mainly grants or tax reductions/exemptions that enable certain consumers, users or producers to supplement their incomes or reduce their costs, but have an overall negative effect on the wider environment. The EU is committed to phasing them out by 2020.

Economics, Strategy and Information

 
© Shutterstock

Clear rules on access to genetic resources

01/03/2013

In October 2010, the global community adopted the ‘Nagoya Protocol on access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their utilization’. This new treaty, which is a Protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity, sets out clear rights and obligations of states in relation to how genetic resources should be made available for research and development and how conditions for their use will be enforced. The Commission has now tabled draft legislation to implement the Nagoya Protocol.

Nature and Biodiversity

 
© Shutterstock

Tackling marine litter

01/03/2013

Our seas and oceans are increasingly becoming the waste dump of the planet. Man-made litter is contaminating marine habitats and posing serious environmental, economic and health problems. A new Commission policy paper aims to raise awareness of the problem and to stimulate debate on ways to tackle it.

Water, Marine and Coast

 
Implementing international biodiversity commitments

Implementing international biodiversity commitments

01/03/2013

Just over two years ago in Nagoya, Japan, the international community adopted an ambitious programme to protect biological diversity. Now, the emphasis is on turning the commitments into reality. Good progress towards achieving this was made in Hyderabad, India, in mid-October 2012.

Nature and Biodiversity

 
© Shutterstock

Adapting to climate change

01/09/2012

Adaptation and mitigation measures are being developed in the fight against climate change. Adaptation is still relatively new, but since it is a cross-cutting exercise and important policy developments are at stake, it feeds into other areas such as water policy and the Commission’s water Blueprint due before the end of the year.

Climate action

 
Ensuring access to justice

Ensuring access to justice

01/09/2012

The extent to which the public can take an environmental issue to court is unclear. The basic right of access to justice is enshrined in the United Nations Aarhus Convention and some specific areas of EU environmental law, but the principle is not always applied in practice. The Commission is seeking to clarify the issue.

Environmental law

 
© Shutterstock

Creating an environmental electronic data network

01/09/2012

European legislation requires national authorities provide a vast amount of data to implement, monitor and report on the implementation of policies and changes in the environment. However, not all are comparable or easily accessible. INSPIRE – Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe – is overcoming some of these hurdles.

Economics, Strategy and Information

 
© European Union

LIFE reaches 20 and prepares to move ahead

01/09/2012

LIFE – the EU’s main source of co-financing environmental projects and programmes within the Union and further afield – celebrates its 20th birthday this year. As it commemorates this landmark, highlighting the people and projects that have contributed to its success, it is already looking to the future.

Funding and LIFE

 
© European Union

Doing more with less

01/09/2012

The Commission has assembled a high-level panel of national, European and international policy makers, industrialists and experts to help turn the vision and goals of its Europe 2020 Roadmap to a Resource-Efficient Europe into reality. The group held its inaugural meeting shortly before the summer break. It is expected to present its first concrete recommendations in mid-2013 and its final proposals for action a year later.

Resource efficiency

 
© Shutterstock

New guidelines to reduce soil sealing

01/09/2012

Every year, an additional 1 000 km2 of soil – an area the size of Berlin – are claimed for human use in the EU. Around half of this land take is then covered with an impermeable material such as concrete, with damaging environmental consequences. New Commission guidelines highlight ways to limit, mitigate and compensate for this ‘soil sealing’.

Land use and Soil

 
© Shutterstock

New rules for biocidal products

01/09/2012

European legislation which will apply from 1 September 2013 will update and simplify existing procedures for authorising the sale of biocidal products in the Union. These will continue to ensure a high level of protection for the environment and human health, while reducing costs for manufacturers.

Chemicals

 
© Shutterstock

Using financial instruments to reduce waste

01/09/2012

The European Union has set itself various targets for recovering and recycling waste, ranging from packaging to cars and electrical goods. Some countries are more efficient at reaching these than others. A new Commission report * underlines the need for economic instruments if the goals are to be achieved.

Waste

 
© Shutterstock

A Blueprint to Safeguard Europe’s Water Resources

01/05/2012

Water policy is the main environmental issue on the European Commission's 2012 work programme. It is also the theme running through this year's Green Week. To improve the quality and better manage the quantity of water in the Union, the Commission is preparing a Blueprint setting out a water policy agenda up to 2020. This will operate like a tool kit to help improve the implementation of water policy, mainstreaming it into other policy objectives and filling in possible gaps.

Water, Marine and Coast

 
© Shutterstock

Raising ship recycling standards

01/05/2012

The Hong Kong Convention, adopted in May 2009, sets out rules to ensure that ships are recycled in a safe and environmentally friendly manner. Drawing on the provisions of the Convention, the Commission has proposed legislation defining standards that owners of commercial EU-flagged ships will have to respect when vessels come to the end of their lives.

Waste

 
© Shutterstock

Implementing environment legislation

01/05/2012

Legislation on the statute book counts for little if it is not properly implemented and enforced. The EU has agreed an array of environment measures over the past 40 years, but the way these are applied can be patchy. To remedy this, the Commission is proposing to help Member States improve their implementation record.

Environmental law

 
© Shutterstock

Emissions trading system expands to cover air travel

01/03/2012

The European Union's pioneering emissions trading system broke new ground at the beginning of the year when it was extended to include all domestic and international flights that arrive at, or depart from, an EU airport.

Climate action

 
© Shutterstock

Financing the Natura 2000 network

01/03/2012

Natura 2000 is the cornerstone of EU biodiversity policy. As establishment of the Natura 2000 network nears completion, the priority now is to make it fully operational by effectively managing and restoring the areas concerned. While the primary responsibility lies with Member States, the Commission has presented a recent Staff Working Paper showing how various sources of EU funding can be used to help meet the significant increase in investment required.

Nature and Biodiversity

 
© Shutterstock

Performance verification to boost new eco-technologies

01/03/2012

New eco-technologies can face one major hurdle compared to their traditional competitors. Many purchasers prefer tried and tested equipment over a potentially superior alternative without an established track record. A pilot verification programme aims to remove this obstacle by providing innovators with an independent assessment they can present of their product’s performance.

Industry and Technology

 
© Shutterstock

European plants, molluscs and freshwater fish in alarming decline

01/03/2012

The European Red List is a periodic assessment of the conservation status of some 6 000 species, determining whether they are threatened with extinction in Europe, so that conservation measures can be taken to reverse the trend. Primarily funded by the European Commission, it is part of a wider exercise organised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Nature and Biodiversity

 
LIFE improving survival conditions for Adriatic sturgeon.

LIFE support for Europe’s threatened species

01/03/2012

New information about the extent to which European species are threatened underscores the importance of a strong EU nature conservation policy. Three new Red Lists of threatened species were released last November by the European Commission and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Together, they highlight an ‘alarming decline’ in Europe’s native flora and fauna.

 
© Shutterstock

Placing climate action at the heart of EU policies

01/03/2012

Every major area of European Union activity will be required to make its own specific contribution towards tackling climate change under multiannual budget proposals tabled by the European Commission. These provide a clear demonstration that the Union's climate action strategy will soon be entering a new phase.

Climate action

 
© iStockphoto

New 2020 biodiversity strategy

01/05/2011

Just months after the world agreed an ambitious global agenda in Nagoya to stem biodiversity loss, the European Union is finalising its own detailed strategy for the coming decade. This builds on the progress made and lessons learnt from the previous EU biodiversity action plan. It is one of the seven specific initiatives that underpin the current drive for a resource-efficient Europe.

Nature and Biodiversity

 
© iStockphoto

Roadmap to a clean, competitive future

01/05/2011

In early March the European Commission adopted a roadmap for turning Europe into a low-carbon society by 2050. Why on earth look four decades ahead when we can barely see the end of the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, some may ask?

Climate action

 
Charting a path towards resource efficiency

Charting a path towards resource efficiency

01/05/2011

The Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe the Commission published this autumn offers a coherent strategy to ensure our natural wealth is available to future generations. It emphasises that current practices are no longer sustainable. It contains milestones across different policy areas to arrive at a European economy within 40 years that provides a high standard of living with a much reduced impact on the environment.

Resource efficiency