The report of the European Environment Agency (AEA), just published, shows how Europe is facing urgent environmental challenges of unprecedented scale. However, according to what emerges from the document, there are margins of hope, given the greater general awareness of the need; to change course towards a sustainable future, the adoption of technological innovations, the community initiatives more and more; numerous and the strengthening of the measures of the EU as for example in the case of the European Green Deal.
According to the report "The European environment: state and outlook 2020 (SOER 2020)", although European policies on environment and climate have helped to improve the environmental situation in recent decades, the progress made by Europe is not enough and the prospects for the environment in the next ten years are nothing but rosy.
The SOER 2020, the most complete environmental assessment never carried out in Europe, outlines a concrete picture of the situation regarding the achievement of the strategic objectives of 2020 and 2030 as well as those at most long term of 2050 for the achievement of a sustainable low-carbon future.
The report shows that by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, Europe has already made significant progress over the past twenty years in terms of climate change mitigation. Signs of improvement are also evident in other sectors, such as atmospheric and water pollution, and with the adoption of new policies to address the problem of plastic waste, for the adaptation to climate change, and for the circular economy and the bioeconomy.
The area in which the improvements are less encouraging remains the one relating to the protection and conservation of European biodiversity and nature. Furthermore, the effects of climate change and atmospheric and acoustic pollution on the environment and human health are still of concern. Exposure to particulate matter, responsible for about 400,000 premature deaths in Europe each year, affects the countries of Central and Eastern Europe disproportionately.
There is moreover, a growing concern about dangerous chemicals and the resulting risks. Looking at the future, with better integration of environmental and health policies, the prospects for reducing environmental health risks could be more optimistic.
The report identifies seven key areas in which implement decisive interventions in order to achieve the goals set for 2030 and for 2050.
- Realize the untapped potential of current environmental policies.
- Adopt sustainability as a framework for policy development.
- Leading the international action towards sustainability.
- Promoting innovation in society.
- Increase investments and redirect the financial sector to support sustainable projects and businesses.
- Manage risks and ensure a socially fair transition.
- Create more knowledge and skills.