Remarks by President Jean-Claude Juncker following the European Council meetings of 14 and 15 December 2017
European Commission - Speech Brussels, 15 December 2017 Ladies and Gentlemen, When I first met Jüri, I said to myself that this is the beginning of a great friendship. That is exactly what happened, and like our President I wanted to pay tribute to the Prime Minister, to the...
A more united, stronger and more democratic Union: Joint Declaration on the EU's legislative priorities for 2018-2019
European Commission - Press release Brussels, 14 December 2017 European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker signed today the new Joint Declaration on the EU's legislative priorities for 2018-2019, alongside President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani and holder of the rotating Council Presidency and Prime Minister of Estonia, Jüri Ratas.
European - Statement Commission Brussels, 14 December 2017 The European Parliament and Council today reached a provisional agreement on a key legislative proposal for implementing the EU's 2030 climate objectives – on accounting of emissions from land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF).
European - Press release Commission Paris, 12 December 2017 Two years after the Paris Agreement, the EU is firmly in the lead in fighting climate change. To that end the Commission announced a series of initiatives for a modern and clean economy at the One Planet Summit in Paris today.
European Commission - Fact Sheet Paris, 12 December 2017 Two years after the adoption of the Paris Agreement, the EU remains fully committed to reducing its domestic emissions by at least 40% between 1990 and 2030. We are on track to meet our 2020 target and close to finalising our...
“Scaling-up finance for climate action” – Speech by Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete
European Commission - Speech - [Check Against Delivery] Paris, 12 December 2017 Monsieur le Premier Ministre Bainimarama, Monsieur le Ministre Le Drian, Madame la Secrétaire exécutive Espinosa, Monsieur le Ministere Kishida, J'aimerais saisir cette occasion pour remercier l'engagement exemplaire du gouvernement français dans la lutte contre le changement climatique et...
- Press release European Commission Brussels, 11 December 2017 The European Commission welcomes the decision adopted today by the Council formally establishing Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) and the plans presented by 25 EU Member States to work together on a first set of 17 collaborative defence projects.
Evaluating the level of danger to human health from exposure to multiple chemicals in contaminated sites is a complex task. To address this difficulty, researchers have developed a new screening tool that can be incorporated into public health risk assessment, which may include polluted former industrial plants, waste dumps, or even land where pesticides have been used. This ‘hazard index’ approach indicates when risk to health is high, which organs are most affected, and where further evaluation should be conducted in the context of environmental or occupational exposure at such sites.
Although nanomaterials are already in widespread use, their risk to the environment is not completely understood. Researchers in the US have developed a next-generation risk-assessment model to better understand nanomaterials’ environmental impact. Applied to the San Francisco Bay area, the model predicted that even soluble nanomaterials could accumulate at toxic levels.
Insights for urban planning — constructed wetlands sited near industry exposed to high levels of pollution
Constructed wetlands serve as a cost-effective and multi-purpose option for storm-water treatment in urban landscapes, offering flood protection as well as wildlife habitat. However, a new study shows that when nearby land use includes industry, wetlands can accumulate high levels of pollution and potentially become toxic to wildlife. This new piece of research offers important insights for the planning and management of wetlands.
UV treatment does not always turn hazardous water pollutants into harmless substances. Recent lab tests suggest that the toxicity of the antibiotic linezolid to microorganisms appeared to increase post-treatment. This research did find, however, that UV treatment successfully reduced the antimicrobial activity of four other antibiotics tested, plus four artificial sweeteners.
Researchers have compared the findings of a citizen-science project and a long-running butterfly monitoring scheme in the UK to gain insights into the reliability of data gathering by the public. They found that — contrary to the scepticism with which such projects are sometimes viewed — much of the citizen-recorded data agreed with the findings of more formal monitoring, particularly for species often found in gardens. This indicates that mass-participation sampling not only provides a valuable tool for public engagement, but, in this case, could also provide valid data to inform butterfly conservation.
How are Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden moving towards renewable and lower-carbon energy use? A recent study suggests the key areas for progress, to ensure Nordic countries meet low carbon goals, include more renewable and decentralised electricity supply, the development of low-carbon transport systems, improved energy efficiency in building design and industrial use of carbon capture and storage.
Assessments of the effects on organisms likely to come into contact with genetically modified (GM) plants have been reviewed in a recent study. The researchers say such assessments help to understand the potential ecological impacts within the environment and are an important part of the risk assessments for GM plants.
Microbes and biocatalytic enzymes could offer useful tools for cleaning soils polluted with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), suggests a new review of remediation approaches. However, risk assessments and further work are needed before their use can be extended beyond the lab to realworld situations. This comprehensive overview of available and novel methods indicates their constraints and potential for future development and research.
Chinese supply of critical raw materials could pose long-term risks to European wind- and solar-energy industries
A recent study has analysed risks to European renewable industries from the Chinese supply of critical raw materials. The offshore wind sector was found to be the most vulnerable of the renewable industries to supply risks. EU and industry strategies should be able to deal with these supply risks in the short term, but there are potential long-term risks to solar and wind sectors. The development of alternative technologies less reliant on these raw materials, and methods to recycle these materials is, therefore, a priority.
As the sources and severity of noise pollution continue to grow, there is a need for new approaches to reduce exposure. This Future Brief looks at the complex and pervasive problem of noise pollution: a problem with no single solution, requiring a combination of short-, medium- and long-term approaches and careful consideration of the nature of the noise source.
A common anti-parasitic drug used to control gastrointestinal worms in livestock has been shown to inhibit seed germination of three common grassland species. This recent study is the first to show that anthelmintics may negatively affect plant regeneration. The researchers say that treatments should be carefully timed in order to avoid the strongest impact of the drugs on germination and the consequential negative affect on grassland regeneration.
Responding to floods in Europe: new framework assesses effectiveness of Flood Emergency Management Systems
A new framework has been developed to assess how effective Flood Emergency Management Systems (FEMS) are in Europe. Examining FEMS in five European countries, this study highlights the strengths and weaknesses of existing systems and makes recommendations for improving their effectiveness, particularly in relation to institutional learning, community preparedness and recovery.
Fishing in most of Norway’s counties is at ‘moderate’ to ‘high’ risk from ocean acidification, concludes a new study. The researchers reached this conclusion with the use of an integrated risk-assessment method that accounts for environmental, economic and social factors within the 19 counties. They call for immediate action to protect the fishing industry against the effects of ocean acidification.