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.
Agricultural land covers almost half of Europe’s territory. Technological development, mechanisation, agro-chemicals and genetic research have led to structural modifications in farming practices and put pressure on the environment, leading to soil depletion, water shortages, pollution, habitat degradation and biodiversity loss.
The JRC provides essential support to policy for improving air quality, including initiatives to harmonise air quality monitoring processes and to develop integrated greenhouse gas and air pollutant emission inventories and projections. This knowledge serves as the basis for analysing the cost estimates of different policy options.
The JRC can estimate and predict movements of pollutants and toxins emitted from sources such as vehicles and industry through the use of atmospheric dispersion models.
The JRC establishes best environmental management practices (BEMPs) of organisations in order to produce Sectoral Reference Documents (SRDs) which are then used by industry and organisations and helps the implementation of the EU Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS).
While the share of renewable power generation is increasing, fossil fuels are expected to continue playing an important role in Europe in the short and medium term. CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion in power generation contribute to approximately 30% at EU level. Moreover, process industries like cement, iron and steel, aluminium, pulp and paper, and refineries, have inherent CO2 emissions resulting from raw material conversion.
JRC research in this area supports the EU’s aim of addressing, mitigating, monitoring and adapting to the effects of climate change. This includes assessing and monitoring the impact of climate change, evaluating the increased risk of climate change hazards, and assessing the sustainability of climate policies.
The JRC is committed to supporting the EU in limiting global climate change. For example, it provides expertise in modelling and evaluation of different energy scenarios, black carbon assessment, land use change and carbon capture and storage.
The JRC provides support to the implementation of the EU’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive using modelling simulations, remote sensing data, dissemination of datasets as well as assisting the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries to sustainably manage their marine resources.
Through its international agreements the EU has endorsed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) by 20% by 2020. This will redirect EU's energy economy towards a highly efficient and low CO2 one with an important impact on climate change mitigation.
At European level a comprehensive package of policy measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has been initiated through the European Climate Change Programme (ECCP).
JRC supports mitigation policies focusing on the analysis of the macroeconomic effects of sector-wise measures taken in carbon-intensive sectors.
The JRC’s work in the field of drought and desertification includes the evaluation of land degradation, regionally as well as globally, meteorological drought forecasting and assessment of the water supply throughout Europe.