Mainstreaming Environmental Priorities: A European Perspective
Mainstreaming environmentalPolicyThe Future of EU Environment priorities:a European perspective 2010Some reflections based on SOERState of Environment in Ireland Conference – 27 June 2012 Jock Martin – European Environment AgencyJock Martin, European Environment Agency
 SOER 2010 stresses a familiar message:there has been progress, but not enough. ‘Environmental policy has delivered substantial improvements […] however, major environmental challenges remain which will have significant consequences […] if left unaddressed. ’ – SOER 2010‘What differs […] is an enhanced understanding ofthe links between environmental challengescombined with unprecedented global megatrends.This has allowed a deeper appreciation of thehuman-made systemic risks and […] insight intothe shortcomings of governance.’ – SOER 2010
 Links between environmental challenges pointtowards increasing vulnerability to systemic risks.Characterisation of Key features In the spotlight in Policy approachkey challenges exampleSpecific linear cause-effect 1970s / 1980s targeted policies and large(point) sources (continuing today) single-issue often local instrumentsDiffuse cumulative causes 1980s / 1990s policy integration multiple sources (continuing today) and raising public often regional awarenessSystemic systemic causes 1990s / 2000s policy coherence and interlinked sources (continuing today) other systemic often global approaches
 Integrated management of natural capital andecosystem services needed to address systemic risks. Links between issues highlight that how and where we use natural capital and ecosystem services matters.
 Where natural capital is limited, trade-offs betweenecosystem services, resource uses and well-being can occur Capitals Global & Natural capital European (i.e. air, water, land, seas, biodiversity) Food Ecosystems Water resources resources Produced capital (i.e. along resources life-cycle) Social and human capital Human Well-Being & Health Services Resource needs for consumption (e.g. provisioning services) Energy Material resources resources Access and exposure to environment (e.g. regulating and cultural services) Links between resource uses (e.g. water needed for food production)
 SOER 2010 also highlights a selection of 11 globalmegatrends relevant for the European environment.Divergence in Living in an urban Risk of diseases Technologicalpopulation trends world & new pandemics change (eg. NBIC)Continued A multi-polar Competition for Decreased stockeconomic growth? world resources of natural capitalConsequences of Increased Environmental Othersclimate change pollution load governance ... ?
 SOER 2010 reflects on future environmentalpriorities - four ‘i‘ - as areas for strategic action. Implementation Integration Better implementation and Coherent integration of further strengthening of environmental consideration current environmental across the many sectoral priorities policy domains Inter-linkages International dimension Dedicated management of Transform to a green natural capital and ecosystem economy to manage services (increasing resource natural capital sustainably efficiency and resilience) within Europe … and beyond
 Further reflections on making strategy actionable:an additional four ‘i‘ offer tools and measures. instruments information •Precaution & Preventioni1 •Rectification at source i2 •Access to information •SEIS (shared information) •Polluter pays •Environmental accounting •... •... investments innovation •Green technologies •Research & developmenti3 •Infrastructure i4 •Eco-innovations & -design •... •Life-cycle approaches •...
 Managing natural capital and ecosystem services:improving resource efficiency and ensure resilience Ecosystem Economy (natural capital) (produced capital) goal: ensure goal: improve ecosystem resilience resource efficiencyGREENECONOMY Human well-being (social and human capital) goal: enhance social equity and fair burden-sharing
 An (indicative) assessment progress towardsimproving resource efficiencyEnvironmental issue EEA 38 EU 27 target / objective EU 27 - trend? - which? - on track?Transboundary air pollution To limit emissions of acidifying, and (NOX, NMVOC, SO2, NH3) eutrophying pollutants Greenhouse gas emissions To reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 % by 2020Air pollution To limit emissions of ozone precursor pollutants Maritime transport emissions To reduce greenhouse gas emissions Water use N.A. N.A.Decoupling and recycling To decouple resource use from (decouple resource use from economic economic growth; to move towards agrowth) recycling society
 An (indicative) assessment of progress towardsensuring ecological resilienceEnvironmental issue EEA 38 EU 27 target / objective EU 27 - trend? - which? - on track?Conservation status To achieve favourable conservation (safeguard EU’s most important habitats status, set up Natura 2000 networkand species)Global mean temperature change To limit increases to below 2°C globally Air quality in urban areas To attain levels of air quality that do not (particulate matter and ozone) give rise to negative health impactsBiodiversity loss To reverse negative species abundance (marine species and habitats) trendsWater stress To achieve good quantitative status of (water exploitation) water bodiesEcological footprint N.A. N.A.(footprint versus biocapacity)
 Environmental indicators offer a basis against whichto develop environmental and green economy policy• By and large, European environmental policies appear to have had a clearer impact on improving resource efficiency than on maintaining ecosystem resilience.• Environmental indicators highlight that improving resource efficiency remains necessary, but in itself may not be sufficient to ensure a sustainable natural environment.• In a green economy policy context, there would be value in considering objectives and targets that more explicitly recognise the links between resource efficiency, ecosystem resilience and human well-being
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