Making sustainability happen: new European policies offer a unique opportunity

Source and copyright: EEA Article  Published 16 Sep 2019  

Ursula von der Leyen, president-elect of the European Commission, set her team’s political priorities for the next five years. A European Green Deal, outlining more ambitious action on climate and biodiversity crises, is at the heart of her agenda. European policies have long tackled environmental degradation and climate change with some success and some failures. Supported by growing calls for action by the public, this new policy term — with the new European Commission and Parliament — provides a unique opportunity to scale up and speed up a green and just transition for Europe.

Climate and biodiversity crises call for urgent action

Compared with other regions, Europe has a well-established legislative framework with long-term policy objectives and reliable data on an extensive number of topics from greenhouse gas emissions and protected areas to air quality and municipal waste. The European Environment Agency operates within this policy and knowledge framework. Our remit and network enable us to have a wide geographical scope, produce integrated and thematic assessments, and contribute to policy discussions both at European and national level.  

 Our assessments indicate progress in some areas as well as worrying trends (see Snapshot from the EEA for key highlights). For example, in climate change mitigation, the European Union Member States have succeeded in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and will achieve short-term targets. However, long-term targets require bigger reductions at a significantly faster pace.

How can we scale up and speed up emission reductions and achieve climate neutrality? Especially when some sectors, like transport, struggle to achieve any reduction, mainly due to increasing demand? Climate change is and will increasingly impact Europe. Are we taking enough measures to adapt and prepare?

Further information is available on the official European Environment Agency.

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