Butterflies or Business - Europe can Have Both!

By European Environment Agency, PRNE
Monday, November 29, 2010

COPENHAGEN, November 30, 2010 - The European Environment Agency (EEA) released today its fourth
Environment State and Outlook report - SOER 2010 - a comprehensive assessment
of how and why Europe's environment is changing, and what we are doing about
it. SOER 2010 concludes that a fully integrated approach to transforming
Europe to a resource-efficient green economy can not only result in a healthy
environment, but also boost prosperity and social cohesion.

The EEA's new assessment shows that global demands for natural resources
to feed, clothe, house and transport people are accelerating. These mounting
demands on natural capital are exerting increased pressure to ecosystems,
economies and social cohesion in Europe and elsewhere. However, SOER 2010
confirms that well-designed environmental policies continue to improve
Europe's environment without undermining Europe's growth potential.

'We are consuming more natural resources than is ecologically stable.
This is true for both Europe and the planet as a whole. Climate change is the
most visible sign of instability so far, but a range of global trends suggest
greater systemic risks to ecosystems in future. The nature of the current
financial crisis should give us pause for thought.' said Prof. Jacqueline
, Executive Director of EEA.

A complete shift to a resource-efficient green economy requires that all
environmental resources - biodiversity, land, carbon, rivers, the seas and
the air we breathe - are fully considered in production, consumption and
global trade decisions.

'There are no quick fixes but regulators, businesses and citizens need to
work together and find innovative ways to use resources more efficiently. The
seeds for future action exist: the task ahead is to help them take root and
flourish,' concludes McGlade.

SOER 2010 also highlights a greater understanding of the links between
climate change, biodiversity, resource use and people's health - and how
tools like spatial planning, ecological tax reform, pollution prevention,
precaution and resource accounting can underpin a natural capital-based
approach to their management.

Key findings and recommendations

    - Climate change: The European Union has made progress in cutting
      emissions and expanding renewable energy. The EU-27's 2009 emissions
      stand 17 % below the 1990 level and therefore very close to the bloc's
      target of cutting emissions 20 % by 2020. However, sectoral trends
      are not all positive. EU-27 emissions from transport rose by 24%
      between 1990 and 2008.

    - Climate change adaptation: Even if Europe meets all its emission
      reduction targets and world leaders agree on bold measures during
      the climate talks currently taking place in Cancun, Mexico, Europe
      will still need to adapt to ongoing and expected climate change
      impacts. Dedicated management ofnatural capital can help deal with
      these challenges.

    - Biodiversity, ecosystems and people's health: The Natura 2000 network
      of protected areas, which now covers around 18 % of EU land, has
      helped protect endangered species and preserve green spaces for
      leisure. Air and water quality legislation has reduced pressure on
      biodiversity and people. On the other hand, intensification of land
      use, loss of habitats and overfishing prevented the EU from meeting
      its target of halting biodiversity loss by 2010.

    - Integrated solutions with a global perspective: By showing the many
      links between different challenges, environmental and others, SOER2010
      encourages us to increase integrated actions across different policy
      areas dealing with these challenges, so as to deliver improvements
      quicker and maximise co-benefits (e.g. mitigate climate change and
      improve air quality at the same time).

    - Resource efficiency: Food, energy and water security are key drivers of
      land use as often conflicting demands increase (e.g. for food,
      feed and fuel). Accounting and pricing that takes full account of
      resource use impacts are essential for steering business and
      consumers towards enhanced resource efficiency.

    - Citizen involvement: Policy alone cannot halt or reverse environmental
      trends. We need to increase the number of citizens committed to
      reducing their impact on the environment by involving them in
      collecting data and through social media.

Notes to the editor

SOER is the EEA's flagship report published every five years, aimed at
providing information on the state of, trends in and prospects for Europe's
environment, including causes, impacts and potential responses. SOER 2010
consists of four key elements: (i) thematic assessments on key environmental
issues (climate change, biodiversity, land use, air pollution, marine
environment, consumption, etc.) each accompanied by relevant facts and
trends, (ii) an assessment of global megatrends relevant for Europe's
environment, (iii) country assessments, and (iv) an integrated synthesis

All SOER assessments can be accessed online at


About the European Environment Agency (EEA)

The EEA is based in Copenhagen. The Agency aims to help achieve
significant and measurable improvement in Europe's environment by providing
timely, targeted, relevant and reliable information to policymakers and the

EEA member countries: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech
, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary,
Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta,
the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic,
Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom.

Contact information, For media inquiries: Ms Gülçin Karadeniz, Press officer, Phone: +45-3336-7172, Mobile: +45-2368-3653, gulcin.karadeniz at eea.europa.eu; Ms Iben Stanhardt, Press officer, Phone: +45-3336-7168, Mobile: +45-2336-1381, Iben.stanhardt at eea.europa.eu

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