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Sustainable Development and Policy Assessment

Sustainable Development and Policy Assessment

A new resource-efficiency framework for bridge design highlights that adaptability is key to circularity

Increasing resource efficiency in the construction industry, in line with circular economy principles, could greatly reduce waste and increase sustainability. Focusing on bridges — often demolished when requirements change — this study presents a way to rate the circularity of different design options. The new framework could help decision making at the procurement stage of infrastructure projects.<a href="https://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/569na5_en-1338_development-of-a-bridge-circularity-assessment-framework.pdf">Click here to read more</a>

 
GACERE - the Global Alliance on Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency - takes off

The EU, teaming up with the United Nations Environment Programme, and in coordination with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, launched the Global Alliance on Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency (GACERE). The Alliance is one of the deliverables of the EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan. Alongside the EU, fourteen countries (Canada, Chile, Colombia, Japan, India, Kenya, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, Rwanda, Morocco, South Africa and South Korea) have already joined the Alliance. A number of other countries are also considering their membership including Switzerland, Mexico, and Singapore. The second working meeting took place on 1 Jun 2021.

 
Reduced environmental impact, new green jobs: Exploring the outcomes of Italy’s renewable energy plan

Transitioning energy production from a dependence upon fossil fuels to renewable energy sources (RESs) promises to reduce environmental impacts while aiding economic growth. A study explores the benefits of implementing the Italian government’s renewable energy plan, which includes installing photovoltaic (PV), hydroelectric, wind, and geothermal infrastructure from now to 2040. </br> </br> <b><a href="https://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/560na4_en-reduced-environmental-impact-new-green-jobs-exploring-the-outcomes-of-italys-renewable-energy-plan.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>

 
Ecosystem restoration goals: study highlights need for global priority areas and collective effort

Restoring global ecosystems is an urgent priority in efforts to conserve biodiversity and stabilise our planet’s climate. However, the costs and outcomes of ecosystem restoration differ markedly by location and habitat type. A recent study has developed a multi-criteria cost-benefit approach to identify priority areas for optimal restoration of terrestrial cropland and pastureland back to natural ecosystems, considering the outcomes of biodiversity conservation, climate mitigation and cost minimisation. </br> </br> <b><a href="https://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/557na2_en_ecosystem-restoration-goals-study-highlights-need-for-global-priority-areas-and-collective-effort.pdf">Click here to read more</a>

 
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.