Janez Potočnik, the European Commissioner for the Environment, has urged Europe to embark on a less resource-intensive growth path – one where the economic growth and environmental progress occur in parallel. Writing in his column in an online forum covering sustainable development, he emphasised the need to move from a linear economic model – where we extract, produce, use and then discard materials – to a circular economy model – where waste from one stream becomes the raw materials for another. Read more…
In the face of rising global populations, there are increasing demands on food, water, fuel, land and infrastructure. With increased consumption comes further strain on natural ecosystems, which are already showing grave signs of degradation and unsustainable use. Potočnik has called for Europe to change its ways, avoid destroying the natural world on which it depends and ensure environmental issues are integrated into other policy areas.
During Potočnik’s role as Commissioner, he has made important proposals on water, air, waste and nature. The European Commission has also embedded resource efficiency as a central priority in the European Union’s (EU) 2020 strategy, which provides a long-term framework for progress in many policy areas, including energy, transport, industry, agriculture, fisheries, research and regional development.
Potočnik also highlighted a recent study produced for the Commission, which revealed that full implementation of EU environmental legislation will bring an annual benefit of €50 billion at the EU level. This would bring substantial direct benefits in terms of growth, jobs and societal wellbeing across the continent.
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