We are doing science for policy
The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy.
The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector accounts for 26% of all industrial Research and Development (R&D) expenditure in the EU and employs 32% of business sector researchers, according to the 2009 Report on R&D in ICT in the European Union (PREDICT) recently published by the JRC's Institute for Prospective Technological Studies.
The forest fire situation in Europe is constantly monitored by the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS), a system established by the JRC's Institute for Environment and Sustainability (IES) and the European Commission's Directorate General for Environment.
ECVAM, the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods, is renewing its Scientific Advisory Structure. An open call for the expression of interest to become member of the ECVAM Scientific Advisory Committee (ESAC) has been published on the ECVAM website. Deadline for submission is 30 September 2009.
Following the spread of major forest fires in Corsica earlier this month, French authorities made a request for additional fire fighting aircraft through the European Commission's Monitoring and Information Centre (MIC), based in Brussels. The MIC responded by providing European reserve fire-fighting aircraft within three hours of the request.
A new report from the JRC's Institute for Energy (IE) published today looks at the likely impact of increased reliance on Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and more shipments of LNG to the European Union. The report concludes that LNG may remain an expensive energy option for the foreseeable future, with both affordability and geo-political issues expected to remain key factors in this area of the energy sector. The report is intended as just one source of information in a number of elements to be taken into consideration in the development of EU energy policy.
On Saturday 4 July, JRC staff participated alongside colleagues from the European Commission's Representation in the UK and in the presence of Commission Vice-President Margot Wallström at the "Sweden on Stage – A Green Mission" family event at Hampstead Heath, London, as part of the City of London Festival and to mark the launch of the Swedish Presidency of the European Union.
The June edition of the JRC Newsletter has been published and can be downloaded here. It features an editorial by Prof. Bas Kok, President of the Global Spatial Data Infrastructure Association, on the increasing convergence between actors in the field of geospatial references. This month's issue also contains news on the results of a study on indoor air quality, a new tool to improve post harvest losses estimates and on the findings of a study on soil friendly farming.
The future portfolio of European power plants needs to be consistent with the EU energy and climate change goals set for 2020. For an optimal and yet feasible choice, the JRC's Institute for Energy (IE) has examined the technology and fuel options, together with the conditions that would lead to it. The report “Future fossil fuel electricity generation in Europe”, published today, assesses the role that fossil fuel technologies will play in the future EU power system. It assumes that due to the rising electricity demand in Europe fossil fuels are likely to remain the backbone until at least 2030 and foresees a need of up to 635 GW of new fossil fuel power plant capacity.
The 17th European Biomass Conference and Exhibition (29 June - 2 July 2009) opens today in Hamburg, Germany. Speaking at the opening of the event, conference chairman and Director of the JRC Institute for Energy (IE) Giovanni De Santi noted that the future of biofuels for transport must be underpinned by "robust science", to ensure that targets set in the EU's renewable energies legislation are met, assuring environmental, economic and social sustainability.
A series of "Renewable Energy Snapshots" published today by the JRC provides a timely update on the potential of wind, solar and biomass energy to contribute to the EU's binding target of 20% electricity generation from renewable energy sources by 2020. Based on updated data from the European solar and wind industry, the latest Snapshots show that the currently installed capacity of both solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind energy already greatly exceeds the 2010 targets proposed in the EU White Paper on Renewable Sources of Energy (1997). However, the JRC concludes that the ambitious 2020 targets can be achieved only if the necessary investments are made to ensure that the system is able to absorb and distribute the additional electricity.