European Commission - Press release Brussels, 22 November 2017 The European Commission has fined Tokai Rika, Takata, Autoliv, Toyoda Gosei and Marutaka a total of € 34 million for breaching EU antitrust rules. The companies took part in one or more of four cartels for the supply of car seatbelts,...
State aid: Commission confirms most Greek measures for Hellenic Defence Systems do not involve aid; orders recovery of some public support for civil activities
European Commission - Press release Brussels, 20 November 2017 The European Commission has concluded that Greek measures for Hellenic Defence Systems fall outside the scope of EU State aid control because they protect Greece's essential security interests.
UN climate conference makes progress on Paris Agreement implementation UN climate conference makes progress on Paris Agreement implementation
European Commission - Press release Brussels, 18 November 2017 UN climate conference makes progress on Paris Agreement implementation This year's UN climate conference, COP23, concluded yesterday with steps forward to ensure global climate action through implementation of the Paris Agreement.
Opening remarks by Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, at the press conference following the Social Summit for Fair Jobs and Growth
European Commission - Speech - [Check Against Delivery] Gothenburg, 17 November 2017 As you know, this was the first Social Summit since 1997. In 1997 we had the first and last Employment Summit. I am the only one to remember that because I was chairing the meeting in 1997.
A new review of the potential uses of visual soil evaluation (VSE) shows how this tool can be used to indicate risks of erosion, compaction, greenhouse gas emission or storage and surface-water run-off. Assessing soils in this way is not only useful for agriculture, but has implications for the wider environment, due to the vital role that soil plays in the provision of ecosystem services, for example as a habitat for biodiversity and as a carbon sink.
Implementation of innovative, resource-efficient urban water systems depends on wide-ranging cooperation
New technology that makes energy capture from waste water and re-use of grey water possible can contribute to energy- and resource efficiency — but the widespread application of such technology requires a new, collaborative approach, shows a new study. Taking radical innovation in urban water systems beyond the pilot stage will require cooperation between a variety of stakeholders, suggest the findings of expert interviews and workshops.
Results from a long-term study of fish communities in the Bay of Somme in the English Channel show that numbers of cold-water fish, such as dab and plaice, have been dropping since 1998, as sea temperatures have risen. The researchers say this is evidence of ‘tropicalisation’ in an English-Channel ecosystem. The findings may have implications for conservation policies in the Bay, which is a Marine Protected Area1 designated under the Natura 2000 programme, as well as other marine sites affected by warming.
Biological control agents are an environmentally-friendly way of controlling pests and diseases on crops and are advocated in the EU’s Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive1. The authors of a new review of the current state of biological control refer to a recent UN report2 which states that it is possible to produce enough food to feed a world population of nine billion with substantially less chemical pesticides — and even without these pesticides if sufficient effort is made to develop biocontrol-based Integrated Pest Management (IPM) methods. The study suggests that policy measures can speed up the development and use of environmentally-friendly crop protection.
The measures available to reduce the noise and vibration produced by trains have been outlined in a recent study. The researchers say the most appropriate mitigation should be determined on a case-by-case basis and life-cycle assessments can help analyse the economic costs and carbon footprint of different methods.
European policy permits the application of nutrient-rich sewage sludge on agricultural land as a means of recycling1. However, contamination of sludge with microplastics may pose a risk to ecosystems. This study looked at the characteristics of microplastics in sewage sludge after three types of waste-water treatment, finding that anaerobic digestion should be explored as a method of microplastic reduction.
Separate waste-water treatment of urine could have lower environmental impact than centralised, combined waste-water treatment
Municipal wastewater is a major source of pharmaceuticals in the aquatic environment. Results from a recent study suggest that collecting and treating urine separately from other forms of sewage could be a cost-effective way to reduce the harmful effects of pharmaceuticals on the environment, while also providing a source of nutrients for fertilising agricultural crops.
Researchers have developed a straightforward approach to help small to medium enterprises (SMEs) analyse their energy use and increase efficiency. They tested the methodology on 280 businesses in Europe, which, as a result, invested more than €10m in energy-saving measures. The measures reduced energy use by 6 500 toe (tonnes of oil equivalent) per year and avoided 13 500 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
Traces of animals’ DNA in the environment, known as environmental DNA (eDNA), can be monitored to paint a picture of biodiversity, new research shows. This study used eDNA to assess biodiversity in an entire river catchment in Switzerland. Importantly, the eDNA technique allowed the researchers to detect both aquatic and land-based species in river water, making it possible to assess biodiversity over a broad scale.
Combinations of antibiotics used in veterinary medicine could harm the growth of algal communities when they pass into water bodies from treated livestock, according to recent European research. Algae play vital roles in ecosystems by cycling nutrients and producing energy from photosynthesis; veterinary use of antibiotics should, therefore, be monitored in the environment, including for any biological impacts on algal species, the study recommends.
Recycled waste material could play a major role in the construction of roads in Europe, bringing both environmental and economic benefits. A new study proposes a scenario where 50% of the asphalt for Europe’s roads consists of recycled materials, leading to significant reductions in costs, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.
Oilseed rape genes transfer from inside to outside of crop fields: study could aid GM risk assessment
This study is one of few to assess the genetic diversity of crops in an agroecosystem over several years. Researchers analysed the genetic makeup of oilseed rape plants within and outside crop fields over four years. They found similarity between cultivars of field plants in one year and those of feral plants (unplanted) in the following year. They also found persistence of the cultivars within the feral plants, which suggests that feral populations with genetically modified (GM) traits might result from persistent GM traits within field seed banks. The researchers say their findings could aid impact assessments of GM crops.
European Commission - Speech - [Check Against Delivery] Gothenburg, 17 November 2017 Dear Ann, Prime Minister, Dear colleagues, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, J'ai d'abord attendu que la France en Marche puisse prendre place avant de prononcer mon discours. I am very happy to be here.
Mapping the sources and level of air pollution in Europe: Commission publishes new Air Quality Index and Atlas
European Commission - Press release Brussels, 16 November 2017 Today, the European Commission and the EU Environment Agency launched a new Air Quality Index, coinciding with the publication of the Air Quality Atlas, a tool developed by the Commission's Joint Research Centre.
Competition: Commission and China start new dialogue on State aid control and discuss competition policy
European Commission - Press release Brussels, 16 November 2017 Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, Chairman He Lifeng and Vice Chairman Hu Zucai, both of China's National Development and Reform Commission, held today in Beijing the first cooperation meeting on State aid control and Fair Competition Review as part of a new dialogue...
Mercury is a heavy metal that is well known for being the only metal that is liquid at room temperature and normal pressure. It is also a potent neurotoxin with severe global human health impacts. It can be converted from one form to another by natural processes, and, once released, actively cycles in the environment for hundreds to thousands of years before being buried in sediment. This In-Depth Report from Science for Environment Policy summarises the latest scientific studies and research results on mercury pollution in the global environment.