skip to main content

Risk Assessment

Extreme coastal water levels will increase considerably due to climate change, posing an increasing threat of coastal floods due to ‘overtopping’ — a cause of flooding

Climate change and anthropogenic pressures are widely expected to exacerbate hazards such as coastal flooding. One process that could contribute to this is overtopping which occurs when the extreme coastal water level exceeds the maximum elevation of the coastal system (such as dunes, dykes or cliffs). A new global analysis — using satellite-derived models of coastlines — estimates that under a high emissions scenario, the incidence of overtopping, globally, will accelerate faster than the global mean sea-level.<a href="https://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/569na6_en-1342_a-global-analysis-of-extreme-coastal-water-levels.pdf">Click here to read more</a>

 
Pharmaceuticals and endocrine disruptors: transfer from water to land ecosystems

Pharmaceuticals and endocrine disruptors increasingly contaminate the world’s freshwaters. New research provides direct evidence of their transfer from aquatic to terrestrial ecosystems via the consumption of aquatic insects by terrestrial predators such as spiders, birds and bats. This exposure may have negative impacts on the physiology and population dynamics of predators, suggesting a need for improved risk-assessment guidelines and practices. <a href="https://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/569na3_en-1323-aquatic-insects-transfer-pharmaceuticals-and-endocrine-disruptors_aquatic-to-terrestrial-ecosystems.pdf">Click here to read more</a>

 
Nearly 5700 Northern Hemisphere lakes may be ice-free within this century

Frozen freshwater lakes provide ice to support human transportation, refrigeration, food harvest and recreation. This ice also influences key environmental factors; crucially, it minimises lake evaporation rates, moderates summer water temperatures and curtails toxic algal blooms. However, freshwater-lake ice cover is decreasing under climate change. A study estimates how many lakes in the Northern Hemisphere will permanently lose ice cover within this century, and identifies those most at risk of becoming ice-free.</br> </br> <b><a href="https://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/560na3_en-nearly-5700-northern-hemisphere-lakes-may-be-ice-free-within-this-century.pdf">Click here to read more</a></b>

 
COVID-19 cases may rise in cool, dry, wind-free areas with high air pollution, suggests Italian study

Weather variables and air pollution may favour COVID-19 pandemic transmission, leading to a higher number of deaths, finds a new study conducted in Northern Italian cities during the first lockdown of 2020, when all non-essential activities ceased. The researchers paired data on COVID-19 patients in intensive care units (ICUs), in Milan, Trento and Florence, alongside weather variables and air pollution data for the first wave of the pandemic to establish if the water content of the air (humidity), temperature or air pollution<sup>1</sup>, were positively or negatively correlated to the high numbers of COVID-19 patients in ICU admissions.</br> </br> <b><a href="https://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/560na2_en-covid-19-cases-may-rise-in-cool-dry-wind-free-areas-with-high-air-pollution-suggests-italien-study.pdf">Click here to read more</a></b>

 
Biocide release from antifouling paints may be higher than reported, finds Swedish study

Researchers have evaluated the EU’s environmental risk assessment tool for antifouling paint used on leisure boats. Currently, product approval applications can report biocide release rates that have been ‘corrected’ to account for potential overestimation. However, field observations in Swedish waters suggest that these reductions are not accurate and — in order to protect marine ecosystems — should not be used. </br> </br> <b><a href="https://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/560na1_en-biocide-release-from-antifouling-paints-may-be-higher-than-reported-finds-swedish-study.pdf">Click here to read more</a></b>

 
Nanopesticides may have the potential to increase food production — but are they environmentally safe?

As the world’s population increases, so does the need for environmentally sustainable ways to increase food production. Nanopesticides are growing in popularity, as they appear able to achieve the same results as traditional agrochemicals when applied at lower amounts. However, regulatory and ecotoxicological research gaps remain. A literature review now identifies these gaps, and suggests the steps needed to enable sustainable nanopesticide use on a global scale. </br> </br> <b><a href="https://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/558na2_en-nanopesticides-may-have-the-potential-to-increase-food-production-but-are-they-environmentally-safe.pdf">Click here to read more</a></b>

 
Exploring the secrets to success in sustainable-technology demonstration projects

Demonstration projects can represent a critical intermediate step between research and development (R&D) and large-scale commercialisation; yet many involving new sustainable technologies fail. In order to map the internal and external factors that enable or prohibit demonstration projects from reaching their goals, a case study of 21 projects was conducted. Qualitative data collected from funding applications and interviews were analysed to identify key themes. Based on these findings, the study proposes a process model outlining the key activities for setting up a new demonstration project.