Only few weeks ahead of the United Nations Conference in Copenhagen, climate change is high on the political and scientific agenda. The Environment Directorate of DG Research is closely following the developments towards a global post-Kyoto agreement on how to stabilise greenhouse gas emissions. The Third World Climate Conference held in Switzerland in late August and early September focused on climate prediction and information for decision-making and was actively supported by the Environment Directorate.
On 26-28 May, over 900 scientists, R&D policy-makers and representatives of industry and civil society – among which this years' Economy Nobel-Prize winner Prof. Elinor Ostrom – came together to discuss the many ways in which European research contributes to global sustainable development. Recognising sustainability as a powerful driver for designing the future research agenda, rethinking the dynamics of knowledge production and valorisation, and the need to think outside the box: these are just a few of the main conference conclusions.
Geneva (Switzerland) played host to the World Climate Conference-3 (WCC-3) on 31 August–4 September 2009. The aim was to establish an international framework to guide the development of climate services which will link science-based climate predictions and information with climate-risk management and adaptation to climate variability and change throughout the world.
Households are estimated to be directly responsible for one fourth of final energy use and two thirds of municipal waste generation in the EU. These environmental challenges constitute the background of the ASCEE project – Assessing the potential of various instruments for sustainable consumption practices and greening of the market – the results of which are now available.
The world’s oceans are home to an enormous range of species, with marine organisms playing a crucial role in almost all biogeochemical processes that sustain the biosphere. Yet one of the major consequences of the unsustainable use of the Earth’s resources is biodiversity loss. Increasing our understanding of large-scale, long-term changes in marine biodiversity was thus a key aim of establishing a European network of excellence (NoE) on marine biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (MarBEF).
The ADAM project has been a flagship project on climate change adaptation and mitigation in the Sixth Framework Programme for Research. The research was conducted between March 2006 and July 2009 by a consortium of 24 European research institutes, together with one partner from each of China and India. The consortium was led by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia (UK).
The NECTAR cluster was launched in 2008 to investigate the potential impact of environmental chemicals and pollutants on reproductive health. Endocrine disrupters are natural and man-made substances, such as compounds used in plastics and pesticides, to which we are exposed every day and which can mimic or interfere with our hormones. This may pose risks especially for the developing foetus and may reduce its future reproductive potential.
The CLIMATE FOR CULTURE project, which will start very soon, addresses two very critical issues being on the top of the European political agenda: climate change and sustainable development. With a budget of nearly €5 million, the project will last five years.
Better predictability of weather and climate in West Africa and Southern Europe will now be possible thanks to AMMA, a project co-funded by the EU. It provides climate information enabling the planning of adaptation measures to climate regional variations for agriculture and other sectors.
With the aim of supporting decision-making on policies concerning land use in European regions, SENSOR has developed a set of quantitative and qualitative tools for ex-ante impact assessment. The FP6 project, which finished in May this year, required complex interdisciplinary research to obtain results that will enable decision-makers to estimate future environmental, social and economic effects of changes in land use in European regions.
Researchers of the AQUATERRA project have developed an integrated approach for the river-sediment-soil-groundwater system. This approach has proven to be an invaluable tool for environmental managers, allowing them to better understand the impacts of climate change, land use and pollution on water and soil resources.
The Tokyo Office of the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) played host to the Fifth Japan–European Union Workshop on Climate Change Research on 6–7 July. The goal of the event was to promote enhanced links and collaboration in the field of climate change research between European and Japanese agencies and institutes.
On 30 July 2009, the Commission published a new series of 2010 calls for proposals. The Environment Directorate contributes to the ERA-Net call and the ‘Ocean for tomorrow’ call and ensures overall call coordination for the general Environment call and the Africa call, a cross-thematic call with the Themes ‘Health’ and ‘Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, and Biotechnology’. On 17 and 18 September 2009, the Environment Directorate held successful Information Days on the general Environment call and the Africa call at the Conference Centre ‘Albert Borschette’ in Brussels.
A new call for proposals for researchers in Japan involved in EU research consortia has been launched by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST). The call relates to 11 topics under the FP themes ‘Environment (including Climate Change)’, ‘Biotechnologies, Food and Agriculture’, and ‘Industrial Technologies’.
The annual Science and Technology (S&T) Joint Consultative Group meeting with the USA took place on 26–27 March 2009 in Brussels. This important meeting – the first with the new US Administration – gave renewed impetus to S&T cooperation including with regard to the marine environment.
The overall goal of the Research Infrastructures (RI) part of the FP7 Capacities programme is to optimise the use and development of the best RI in Europe, and to help create new RI of pan-European interest in all fields of science and technology. RIs for Environment Sciences are specifically addressed by six topics of the call FP7-INFRASTRUCTURES-2010-1, under Integrating Activities: RIs for Atmospheric Research; Sites and experimental platforms for long-term ecosystem research; RIs for native seed conservation; RIs for polar research; RIs for coastal research, including for integrated coastal zone management and planning; and RIs for water resource observation, water resource management and hydrological observation. Other topics including those on policy issues are relevant as well, although they are not specifically targeted at the environment. The deadline of the call is 3 December 2009. With a deadline of 24 November 2009, the call FP7-INFRASTRUCTURES-2010-2 relates to ICT-based e-Infrastructures and can also be relevant to RIs for environmental sciences.
Further information on the RIs action and on both calls is available at cordis.europa.eu/fp7/
The next United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 15) will take place in Copenhagen in December. As for previous COP meetings, the Environment Directorate of DG Research plans to organise a series of side events on topics related to the issues discussed in Copenhagen.
This conference, organised by the World Health Organization/Europe and hosted by Italy, is the next milestone in the European environment and health process, now in its 20th year. Focusing on protecting children's health in a changing environment, the conference will drive Europe's agenda on emerging environmental health challenges for the years to come. DG Research, and in particular the Environment Directorate, will participate in the event by sharing a Commission stand and organising a side event. More information can be found here: www.euro.who.int/parma2010
A joint event co-organised by the research partners in the FP6 Network of Excellence EVOLTREE, this conference aims to present new scientific findings in the area of ecosystem genomics. The conference will focus on the function and diversity of genes of adaptive significance in the context of climate change. Adaptation of forest ecosystems will be analysed from an evolutionary perspective and illustrated by examples on trees and their associated species. Invited speakers will include scientists from EVOLTREE, other research teams in Europe and other parts of the world. The conference is also open to policy-makers and practitioners. The deadline for submitting abstracts is 1 March 2010.
This report explores what it means to harness European research to sustainable development and how this could be achieved and measured. Three aspects are covered, addressing changes in: execution of research; elaboration of research policies and developing indicators of the contribution of research to sustainable development. The report is the result of a structured dialogue between an expert group and stakeholders from the research and policy communities.
This publication gathers the abstracts of European research projects on climate change and those related to climate change which have been completed recently or are ongoing under FP6 and FP7. It aims to provide a relevant overview of research activities on climate change funded by the EU to participants to the third World Climate Conference held in Geneva in August 2009 and to the UNFCCC 15th Conference of the Parties meeting in Copenhagen in December 2009.
Rising atmospheric concentrations of CO2 and other greenhouse gases over the past 200 years have driven substantially global warming, which in turn could trigger the release to the atmosphere of additional carbon from the oceans and the terrestrial ecosystems, thus accelerating climate change. The aim of this report is to assess the European and North Atlantic Carbon Balance drawing from the results of two integrated research activities funded under FP6: CARBOEUROPE and CARBOOCEAN. Key scientific findings, the implications for policy and future research priorities are highlighted, unfolding some of the complex and emerging scientific and policy issues associated with climate change and the carbon cycle.
Fatalities and economic losses due to natural catastrophic events have increased in recent decades. The aims of this publication are to present new ideas and concepts on multi-risk evaluation; report the principles and rationales that stand behind a procedure for such assessment; and describe the most advanced procedures generally adopted to estimate individually natural and anthropogenic risks representing major threats for Southern Europe. In addition, it directly tackles the problem of multi-risk assessment applying innovative procedures and protocols to the case study of a town close to Naples (Casalnuovo).
This publication presents the projects funded under FP7 for 2007–09 relating to the theme ‘Environment (including climate change)’. Divided among the key research areas, the catalogue gives the core details for each project, together with an abstract.