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| Press Releases 2003

    Press releases from 2006 / 2005 / 2004 / 2003 / 2002

    • 16-12-03: European Commission stands behind the Kyoto Protocol
      The European Commission continues to support the Kyoto Protocol as the only international framework to combat climate change. The President of the Commission Romano Prodi said in Strasbourg on Tuesday: "The Commission firmly supports the Kyoto Protocol and its full implementation by the EU. We are not changing our position or going back on the targets that we have agreed. The recent climate change conference in Milan confirmed the strong international support for the Kyoto Protocol. We are confident that Russia will ratify the Protocol so that it can enter into force."

    • 03-12-2003: First Environment Policy Review highlights need to speed up reforms to better protect the environment and promote sustainable development
      The European Commission today adopted its first Environment Policy Review. The main purpose of the Review is to report on developments since 2001 and highlight current priority issues in the EU and national environmental policies. The Review emphasises the need to speed up the pace of reforms to improve the state of the environment in Europe and internationally.

    • 27-11-2003:Global Earth Observation plan takes critical step forward: Italy Hosts 2nd Meeting of Group on Earth Observation
      The ad hoc intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations (GEO) will hold its second meeting this week in Baveno, Italy. The meeting aims to give direction to the continued development of a 10-year plan to implement a comprehensive, coordinated, and sustained Earth observation system or set of systems. The first meeting took place in August 2003 in Washington, DC, immediately after the first Earth Observation Summit, which established the group. 

    • 26-11-2003: Global Land Cover: unique picture of world vegetation from satellites
      A unique global land cover database for the year 2000 (GLC2000) is at last ready for use. This map fills an important knowledge gap concerning the distribution of vegetation and land cover on our planet. It was completed by a world-wide partnership of over 30 research organisations, co-ordinated by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC). GLC2000 results will be presented at the November 26-29 GMES (Global Monitoring for the Environment and Security) meeting and subsequent GEO (Global Earth Observation) conference on November 28-29, in Baveno (Italy). GLC2000 will allow for better monitoring of the environment. This will, in turn, help forecast and prevent natural and man-made disasters, and study eco-systems, bio-diversity, climate change and weather forecasting.

    • 28-10-2003: Questions and Answers on the Århus Convention

      21-10-03: Kyoto Protocol: Commission hails agreement on monitoring greenhouse gas emissions
      The European Commission welcomed the vote today in the European Parliament to approve a Decision of the Parliament and the Council on monitoring greenhouse gas emissions. This Decision is important because it implements the EU's commitments under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which aim to curb global warming by reducing emissions of gases that contribute to it.

    • 16-10-03: Impact Assessment of the Chemicals proposal
      The overall costs of the proposal on chemicals, currently in preparation, will be substantially reduced compared to earlier estimates. The draft proposal which was posted for Internet consultation earlier this year has been thoroughly revised to cut costs and minimize bureaucracy whilst safeguarding human health and the environment.

    • 13-10-2003: Media briefings: Floods: European research for better predictions and management solutions (Ständehaus, Dresden, 13 October 2003)
      Floods are one of Europe's most widespread disasters. Major flooding has occurred nearly every year somewhere on our continent during the last few decades. Today, European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin is visiting the city of Dres-den (Germany), which was hit very hard last year by one of the worst flood catastrophes to occur in Central Europe since the Middle Ages. During this visit, the European Commission has organised a media briefing at Dresden's Ständehaus to present the results of some major research projects on floods, looking into better ways of preventing, predicting, mitigating and managing these catastrophes.

    • 22-09-2003:Indoor air pollution: new EU research reveals higher risks than previously thought
      Do you really know what you are breathing when sitting at home? Europeans spend 90% of their time indoors. But closed environments are not always the healthiest. The latest studies on human exposure to indoor pollution, released today by the European Commission at its Joint Research Centre (JRC) facilities in Ispra (Italy), reveal that indoor environments pose their own threats to health and, in some cases, can be at least twice as polluting as outdoor environments.

    • 10-09-03: Commission welcomes agreement on the revision of the Seveso II Directive to prevent major accident hazards
      The European Commission today welcomed the agreement on the first revision of the Seveso II Directive reached in conciliation yesterday. The Directive is now strengthened in a number of areas, such as information for the public, training for emergencies and the involvement of subcontracted personnel.

    • 27-08-03: European research helps fight fires in Southern Europe
      Due to this summer's unprecedented heat wave, we have been witnessing particularly devastating fires in Southern Europe, particularly around the Mediterranean. Hundreds of thousands of hectares of forest in Portugal, France, Spain and Italy have gone up in smoke, causing loss of life, destruction of homes, and millions of Euros in damage.

    • 27-08-03 Commission's Joint Research Centre assesses Portugal's worst forest fire season
      Some 355 976 ha of land had been burnt in Portugal by 20 August 2003, 301 180 ha of which was forest, according to figures derived from satellite observations by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC). The JRC used its remote-sensing expertise to map the extent of damage. These figures show that almost 6% of the forest area in Portugal was damaged - twice that of the most severe year since 1980. It is equivalent to the total annual burnt area of all 5 Mediterranean countries in recent years.

    • 12-08-03: Climate change: Commission tackles fluorinated gases
      The European Commission has adopted a proposal for a Regulation to reduce emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases. The proposal represents a further step towards fulfilling the EU's obligations under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce emissions of all gases contributing to global warming. Fluorinated gases are extremely powerful and long-lived greenhouse gases.

    • 04-08-03: Commission co-ordinates EU aid to fight forest fires in Portugal and France
      The Response Centre of European Commission has been active over the last few days to rapidly co-ordinate assistance and support to Portugal and France in combating forest fires. 29 countries participate in the EU system of civil protection (Member States, EEA countries and 11 accession countries). Forest fires in France burnt more than 30,000 ha and in Portugal 54 000 ha.

    • 23-07-03: Commission adopts new measures to combat climate change globally
      The European Commission today adopted a new initiative to combat climate change globally. The proposal for a new Directive will allow European companies to carry out emissions-curbing projects around the world and convert the credits earned into emissions allowances under the European Union emissions trading scheme. The proposal builds on the so-called market-based flexible mechanisms "Joint Implementation" and the "Clean Development Mechanism" envisaged by the Kyoto Protocol. Their aim is to reach the global emissions reduction targets in a cost-effective way while transfering advanced technology to other industrialised and developing countries.

    • 30-06-2003:EU research project proves that personal choice can dramatically improve urban air quality
      Stop smoking and leave your car at home. Encouraging people in cities to make simple lifestyle changes, such as using alternative forms of transport to the car, can significantly reduce their exposure to harmful air pollutants.

    • 18-06-03: Questions and Answers on Integrated Product Policy (IPP)

    • 30-06-2003:EU research project proves that personal choice can dramatically improve urban air quality
      Stop smoking and leave your car at home. Encouraging people in cities to make simple lifestyle changes, such as using alternative forms of transport to the car, can significantly reduce their exposure to harmful air pollutants.

    • 27-06-2003:The flight of ICAROS: EU satellite research project tackles urban air quality from space
      A three-year project led by the Commission with ten partners from Greece, Germany, Hungary and Italy has developed an innovative system for monitoring and managing urban air quality and the related health risks. Results of the “ICAROS NET” technique were presented today in Budapest.

    • 25-06-2003:A world first: European research discovers solutions to environmental impact of antibiotics
      The results of three European research projects (ERAVMIS, REMPHARMAWATER and POSEIDON) covering 13 European countries and establishing the environmental impact of human and veterinary antibiotics and possible solutions, will be presented to the press for the first time on 27 June in Gryaab, Göteborg (Sweden), at Scandinavia's largest waste-water treatment plant.

    • 11-06-2003: Environment and health; the European Commission launches a strategy to reduce diseases linked to environmental factors.
      There is a strong link between poor health and environmental problems. A recent report from the European Environmental Agency, EEA, shows that as many as 60 000 deaths per year in large European cities are caused by long-term exposure to air pollution. Children are more exposed to environmental risks than adults.

    • 28-05-2003: Turning the tide on environmental degradation: the EU examines ways to reverse damage in the Mediterranean and Black Seas
      Fifty years of intense development and exploitation have resulted in significant change to the fragile natural resources of the Mediterranean and Black Seas, and their coastal areas. Agreeing ways to prevent further environmental degradation will be the focus of the "International Conference on the Sustainable Development of the Mediterranean and Black Sea Environment" (IASON), to be held from 28 May to 1June in Thessaloniki (Greece), sponsored by the Greek Presidency and the European Commission.

    • 27-05-03: Commission sets the scene for a new Strategy on Waste Prevention and Recycling
      The European Commission today adopted a Communication called "Towards a Thematic Strategy on Waste Prevention and Recycling." This Communication launches a broad consultation exercise on the EU's future policy in this area. It invites stakeholders to comment on the policy options set out in the Communication.

    • 15-05-03: Eco-label Flower helps EU consumers opt for environmentally-friendly holidays
      Consumers now have the opportunity to turn to "the Flower" to find an environmentally friendly hotel, bed and breakfast, youth hostel, or even mountain hut! From 1 May 2003, companies selling tourist accommodation throughout Europe can apply for the EU Eco-label to show just how highly they score on environmental performance.

    • 25-04-03: Commission adopts four opinions relating to developments affecting Natura 2000 sites
      The European Commission has adopted Opinions for four development projects affecting Natura 2000 sites in Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. These opinions are legally required under the 1992 Habitats Directive and respond to formal requests by these Member States to have the Opinion of the Commission.

    • 28-03-2003:European research provides incentives to boost eco-efficiency in Public Administrations
      Public administrations can save greenhouse gas emissions amounting to 18% of Europe's Kyoto obligations just by switching to renewable electricity. Purchasing organic food for consumption in public canteens would reduce damage to European soils and waters by an equivalent of over 3,500,000 inhabitants. These are some of the first results of the EU research project RELIEF, which is laying down easy-to-use guidelines for local authorities to adopt a more environmentally friendly approach to the purchase of electricity, construction, information technology equipment, food and public transport. The RELIEF project involves 6 local authorities in 5 countries (Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Sweden and Switzerland). The project will end in September 2003.

    • 27-03-03: Eurobarometer survey: Europeans see the environment as top priority
      European Environment Commissioner, Margot Wallström today presented the results of a Eurobarometer Survey entitled "The attitudes of Europeans towards the environment." The results, which reflect the views of 16,000 EU citizens who were polled last autumn, show that while environmental issues remain top of their list of priority issues, opinions have evolved with regards to the main causes of pollution and what action should be taken.

    • 25-03-03: Breaking down barriers to technologies to protect the environment and boost competitiveness
      A new initiative to boost the impact of environmental technologies on the environment, economy, employment, natural resources and people's quality of life has been launched today by the European Commission. Environmental technologies can, for instance, turn waste into raw materials.

    • 18-03-03: Commission to help developing countries meet the challenge of climate change
      The European Commission has adopted a strategy to help developing countries meet the challenges posed by climate change. In its Communication entitled "Climate Change in the context of development co-operation", the Commission proposes an EU action plan aimed at integrating climate change concerns into EU development co-operation activities.

    • 07-03-2003:EU and US to work together in energy and climate change research
      Yesterday in Brussels, European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin met Mr Spencer Abraham, Secretary of State at the US Department of Energy. They discussed EU-US scientific co-operation in research on climate change and energy issues, such as the co-operation on nuclear fusion through the ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) project, the EURATOM programme, with the signing of a co-operation agreement, hydrogen and fuel cells, and carbon (CO2) capture and storage.

    • 06-03-03: Commission strategy to protect Europe's most important wildlife areas frequently asked questions about NATURA 2000.
      With the aim of promoting greater awareness and understanding of its work to protect Europe's most important wildlife areas, the European Commission has prepared a paper which explains what the NATURA 2000 network of protected areas is and how it is being set up.

    • 07-02-2003: United States and European Union Joint Meeting on Climate Change Science and Technology Research
      The United States and European Union convened the first bilateral “U.S.-EU Joint Meeting on Climate Change Science and Technology Research” in Washington on February 5-6, 2003, following an invitation from Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky to European Commission Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin. The two sides identified cooperative research activities in six areas:
      1. carbon cycle research;
      2. aerosol-climate interactions;
      3. feedbacks, water vapor and thermohaline circulation;
      4. integrated observation systems and data;
      5. carbon capture and storage; and
      6. hydrogen technology and infrastructure.


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