The EU Won't Be Able to Meet its Environmental Targets by 2020
The European Union will not meet its environmental targets by 2020, but could reach those of 2030 and 2050 if urgent action is taken, the European Environment Agency said.
"The assessment notes that while most of the 2020 targets will not be achieved, especially those on biodiversity, there is still a chance to meet the longer-term goals and objectives for 2030 and 2050.," said a report published during the meeting at the COP25 summit, which opened in Madrid on Monday.
It also says that Europe needs "urgent action" over the next 10 years to cope with the "alarming rate of biodiversity loss, increasing impacts of climate change and the overconsumption of natural resources".
The report notes that although there has been a 22% fall in greenhouse gas emissions between 1990 and 2017 and an increasing share of renewable energy, more progress is needed.
The EEA has stated that of the 13 biodiversity policy objectives set for 2020, only two will be met: designation of marine and terrestrial protected areas. On the other hand, "climate change, air and noise pollution impacts on the environment and human health are also still of concern. Exposure to fine particulate matter is responsible for around 400 000 premature deaths in Europe every year, affecting central and eastern European countries disproportionally. There is also growing concern over hazardous chemicals and the risks they pose. Looking ahead, the prospects for reducing environmental risks to health would be improved with better integration of environment and health policies."
Current trends highlight a "slowing down of progress in areas such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, industrial emissions, waste generation, improving energy efficiency and the share of renewable energy. Looking ahead, the current rate of progress will not be enough to meet 2030 and 2050 climate and energy targets. "
COP15 on biodiversity will be held next year in China, where countries will set new targets, although the 2020 targets have not yet been met.
"Europe’s environment is at a tipping point. We have a narrow window of opportunity in the next decade to scale up measures to protect nature, lessen the impacts of climate change and radically reduce our consumption of natural resources. Our assessment shows that incremental changes have resulted in progress in some areas but not nearly enough to meet our long-term goals. We already have the knowledge, technologies and tools we need to make key production and consumption systems such as food, mobility and energy sustainable. Our future well-being and prosperity depend on this and our ability to harness society wide action to bring about change and create a better future," said Hans Bruyninckx, EEA Executive Director.
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