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Environment

Investing in European success - A Decade of Success in Earth Observation Research and Innovation

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Friday, December 4, 2015
Abstract in English: 
Earth observation data and information are vital to allow decision-makers and society in general to take informed decisions about climate, energy, food security, natural hazards, health and other societal challenges. These challenges are complex, interrelated, cross-border in nature and interdependent at the global scale and therefore coordination is essential to avoid duplication of efforts and reduce observational gaps.

The European Commission together with 27 EU Member States are active members of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), which provides a global voluntary framework where governments and participating organisations can coordinate their strategies and investments in the field of Earth observation while promoting full and open access to data and information through the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS).

This booklet provides a snapshot of EU-funded projects which illustrate how European research and innovation contribute to this global initiative, showcasing the potential of international collaboration in science for diplomacy.
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Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Saturday, August 1, 2015
Abstract in English: 
This Agenda is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. It also seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom. We recognise that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. All countries and all stakeholders, acting in collaborative partnership, will implement this plan. We are resolved to free the human race from the tyranny of poverty and want and to heal and secure our planet. We are determined to take the bold and transformative steps which are urgently needed to shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path. As we embark on this collective journey, we pledge that no one will be left behind. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets which we are announcing today demonstrate the scale and ambition of this new universal Agenda. They seek to build on the Millennium Development Goals and complete what these did not achieve. They seek to realize the human rights of all and to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. They are integrated and indivisible and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental.
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The murky future of global water quality: New global study projects rapid deterioration in water quality

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Abstract in English: 
While California’s four-year drought is forcing the most severe mandatory water restrictions in the state’s history, another water crisis is brewing that will affect far more people and a much greater territory – the planet at large.

According to a global study by the International Food Policy Research Institute and Veolia, the world is on a path toward rapidly deteriorating water quality in many countries. The first-of-its-kind study indicates that up to 1 in 3 people will be exposed to a high risk of water pollution in 2050 from increased amounts of nitrogen and phosphorous. Up to 1 in 5 people will be exposed to a high risk of water pollution reflected by increased levels of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD).

Even using the most optimistic socio-economic models, water quality is projected to rapidly deteriorate over the next several decades which, in turn, will increase risks to human health, economic development and thousands of aquatic ecosystems in developed and developing economies alike.
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12
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The future of electricity transmission : cost-benefit analysis of a biodiversity-friendly vegetation management in forest corridors

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Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, November 30, 2015
Abstract in English: 
Vegetation is a threat for electricity transmission when overhead high-tension lines are crossing forest areas. For this reason, Transmission System Operators (TSO) often proceed by regular vegetation destruction in order to prevent any electrical blackout that could be triggered by trees, by contact or by fall.

The innovative LIFE Elia-RTE project (funded partly by EU) decided to think about alternative methods that could ensure not only electrical safety, but also enhance biodiversity ! These methods should aim at protecting species and natural habitats encompassed by the European Natura 2000 legislation. Indeed, for a good ecological state, we need core areas and connection corridors. This is where high-tension lines have a strong potential to be converted as green corridor for biodiversity.

On a 30 years timescale, biodiversity-friendly vegetation management has been estimated to be 1.4 to 3.9 cheaper than traditional vegetation management ! And not only for its cost savings, it also brings many other benefits.

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24
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Investing in African Livestock: business opportunities in 2030-2050

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Friday, March 1, 2013
Abstract in English: 
This paper depicts the medium to long term development prospects for the African livestock sector by reviewing data on the estimated consumption of animal-sourced foods and anticipated responses by producers for 2005/07, 2030 and 2050. Data and projections are elaborated by the FAO Global Perspective Studies Unit.
Increases in the demand for animal-sourced food are estimated extraordinarily high in Africa over the coming decades. By 2050, the meat market is projected at 34.8 million tonnes and that of milk about 82.6 million tonnes, an increase of 145 and 155 percent respectively over 2005/07 levels. More notably, over this period, Africa’s increase in volume of meat consumed will be on a par with that of the developed world and that of Latin America, with only South Asia and Southeast Asia anticipated to register higher growth. For milk, only South Asia will register stronger gains in market size than Africa. Furthermore, annual growth rates in both meat and milk consumption are projected to be higher in Africa than in other regions, with the exception of meat in South Asia (from a very low base). Within Africa, beef, milk and poultry are anticipated to provide favourable business opportunities for livestock producers, in both volume and value terms. However, market dynamics differ amongst the geographic hubs, including Western and Southern Africa; Northern and Southern Africa; and Central Africa.
Production will not keep pace with consumption. Africa is anticipated to increasingly become a net importer of animal-sourced foods. This represents a missed development opportunity, given the widespread societal benefits that inclusive growth of livestock can generate, particularly in a continent where the majority of rural dwellers depend fully or partly on livestock for their livelihoods. Consequently, investments, and policy and institutional reforms that target African livestock markets are required to ensure that the business opportunities generated by the growing demand for animal-sourced foods translate into widespread benefits for the population.
Formulating effective livestock sector policies and institutional changes require a flow of information on market conditions and on the constraints to market entry. These are rarely readily available and investments in data collection and in data collection systems should be given appropriate priority, as the basis for supportive policies and investment.2050
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14
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Zero-carbon London: A plan for the next mayoral term

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, November 23, 2015
Abstract in English: 
London is not on pace to meet its current emissions target, a 60 per cent reduction by 2025. We call on the next mayor of London to pick up the pace – and provide a plan for how they could pursue an ambitious new target, for London to be a zero-carbon city by 2050.

This presentation-style report sets out nine 'Essentials' and 12 'Desirables' for the next mayor to deliver, if the 2050 emissions target is to be achieved. As well as providing benefits in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, many of these policies and investments will benefit Londoners by promoting economic growth, creating jobs, improving health and life expectancy, saving residents and businesses money and energy, and making London a nicer city to live in.

At the same time, London has a great opportunity to take a global leadership role in city-led climate change action, sharing with and learning from major towns and cities across the UK and internationally.
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28
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APEC Low-Carbon Model Town Development Model and Toolkit Study

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Friday, October 16, 2015
Abstract in English: 
The low-carbon cities in the APEC region differentiate from each other in terms ways and focuses of development due to their distinctive natural conditions, economic development, industrial structure and cultural tradition. Drawing from the experiences from all the member economies, this report offers suggestions for the development models and toolkit of low-carbon cities.
The concept of Low Carbon City originates in Low Carbon Economy, which was put forward in the context of coping with the global climate change and advocating less greenhouse gases emission during human production and living activities. In 2003, the government of United Kingdom published its "Energy White Paper" entitled "Our Energy Future: Creating a Low Carbon Economy", in which the concept of Low Carbon Economy was first put forward. The White Paper pointed out that Low Carbon Economy means to achieve more economic output by less natural resources consumption and environmental pollution, in order to create approaches and opportunities for a higher living standard and better living conditions, and to provide new business opportunities and more job opportunities for the development, application and output of advanced technologies. Low Carbon Economy gives consideration to both "Low Carbon" and "Economy", of which Low Carbon is a model that humans respond to the climate change to realize sustainable economic and social development. Low Carbon means we must reduce or even stop depending on carbon-based fuel to the greatest extent and realize energy utilization transition and economic transition in the pursuit of economic development; Economy, means we need to maintain a stable and sustainable economic development on the basis and in the course of energy utilization transition, however this concept should not exclude the maximum of development, output, and long-term economic growth.
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78
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North American Environmental Outlook to 2030

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Monday, November 1, 2010
Abstract in English: 
This report summarizes recent research concerning the major forces and underlying trends that are likely to shape the environment of North America in 2030. The intention of this report is not to present a prediction of the future. Rather, it is to consider the possibilities that the future might hold in light of the environmental and social stresses facing North America and the world at this time.

The report has been produced in response to a request by the Council of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC). It complements the CEC’s 2008 report, The North American Mosaic (CEC 2008), which focused on recent environmental trends and divided issues by subject or medium—air and atmosphere, biodiversity and ecosystems, pollutants, and water. This allows for the telling of a coherent story for each issue, but can hide the interconnections among issues. This report takes a more systems approach, following a Driver-Pressure-State-Impact-Response model. Thus, it follows more directly from the discussion paper prepared for the June 2008 conference, North America 2030: An Environmental Outlook, hosted by the CEC’s Joint Public Advisory Committee (Stratos Inc. and IISD 2008), upon which it expands. Together, these and other initiatives are intended to assist the CEC in the consideration and development of its work program by highlighting possible areas for cooperative action to support environmental mitigation, adaptation and innovation strategies across all three countries.

Several factors restrict the scope of this report. First, as a review, it is necessarily limited to available work to-date. Second, because it takes a North American perspective, the choice was to focus primarily, although not exclusively, on cases where consistent and comparable information is available for Canada, Mexico, and the United States. This precluded using some country-specific data, which provide greater within-country detail and may differ from similar data presented in international data sets. Third, there are numerous aspects of the environment for which historic data are available, but for which there has been no effort to make forward-looking projections. Fourth, each of these restrictions is exacerbated by the desire to include quantitative information as much as possible. Finally, most studies, including those explored here, have tended not to consider in detail the possibility of dramatic, albeit imaginable, surprises that would alter their projections significantly.
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84
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Options for Sustainable Food and Agriculture in the EU

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Friday, November 1, 2013
Abstract in English: 
How should Europe respond to the increased demands on our food and agriculture systems arising from global population growth, changing diets, and competing demands on agricultural land? This report offers a view on how the EU could play a role in meeting these challenges in the coming decades and sets out some of the options which merit particular attention. It focuses on options for increasing agricultural productivity whilst adapting to the effects of climate change and reducing emissions from agriculture, the means of reversing continued declines in farmland biodiversity, the reduction of food wastage, ways to achieve a more resource-efficient food sector, and the options for using wastes and residues to meet biomaterial and bioenergy needs in a sustainable way. It brings together some of the analysis and results of five commissioned studies in a synthesis, considering the state of play today and some of the key developments on the horizon moving towards 2050. The European Union has strongly developed common environmental and agricultural policies, and a recently reformed Common Agricultural Policy with a greater emphasis on both the environment and innovation, providing Member States with an opportunity to initiate a change in direction. At the same time, there are major challenges to increasing productivity in an appropriate way whilst reducing damage to European agricultural and natural resources and biodiversity. It will be important to produce more with less in Europe and to cut wastage.
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129
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The Future of Cohesion Policy

Date of Editorial Board meeting: 
Publication date: 
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Abstract in English: 
The report Future of cohesion policy examines the main issues of debate around the cohesion policy in order to set up the political framework of discussion. Methodologically, this first report is based on an analysis of past debates, predominantly in regional EU fora. Desk-based research was supplemented by thematic discussions with other EU institutions, experts and key stakeholders in the scope of a seminar. Furthermore this study series on the Future of cohesion policy should provide a new impetus to the work of the Committee of the Regions and its members in the policy debates on the efficiency and effectiveness of Cohesion Policy from the perspective of local and regional authorities as well as the main topic of the research: The Cohesion Policy beyond 2020.
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196
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