Environment news

Speech by President Juncker at the Honorary Doctorate award ceremony by the National University of Ireland

Presidency - Thu, 21/06/2018 - 18:33
European Commission - Speech - [Check Against Delivery] Speech Dublin, 21 June 2018 Chancellor Manning, Professor O'Shea, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, Allow me to start by thanking Professor O'Shea for his kind words. I would like to thank the National University of Ireland for this important distinction.
Categories: Environment news

Address by President Jean-Claude Juncker to the Joint Houses of the Oireachtas

Presidency - Thu, 21/06/2018 - 14:12
European Commission - Speech - [Check Against Delivery] Dublin, 21 June 2018   Mr Speaker, Taoiseach, Honourable Members,     It is, Mr Speaker, a real honour to be with you here today for this special sitting of the Joint Houses.
Categories: Environment news

Statement by President Jean-Claude Juncker at the joint press conference with Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar

Presidency - Thu, 21/06/2018 - 12:54
European Commission - Speech - [Check Against Delivery] Dublin, 21 June 2018   Dear Leo, It is a real pleasure to be back in Dublin, a city I know well, where I spent beautiful moments of my life. I remember the Dublin summit back in December '96, then the welcome...
Categories: Environment news

New World Atlas of Desertification shows unprecedented pressure on the planet's natural resources

Environment - Thu, 21/06/2018 - 12:00
European Commission - Press release Brussels, 21 June 2018 Today, the Joint Research Centre, the European Commission's science and knowledge service, is publishing a new edition of the World Atlas of Desertification, offering a tool for decision makers to improve local responses to soil loss and land degradation.
Categories: Environment news

New World Atlas of Desertification shows unprecedented pressure on the planet's natural resources

Research and Innovation - Thu, 21/06/2018 - 12:00
European Commission - Press release Brussels, 21 June 2018 Today, the Joint Research Centre, the European Commission's science and knowledge service, is publishing a new edition of the World Atlas of Desertification, offering a tool for decision makers to improve local responses to soil loss and land degradation.
Categories: Environment news

New magnetised carbon nanotubes more effectively remove mercury from water

DG ENV - Wed, 20/06/2018 - 16:08
Water pollution by toxic elements is a major economic and environmental concern, and mercury is one of the most poisonous of the elements to be released into the environment by industry. Mercury exposure can cause severe ill health. Efficient, simple and convenient methods to remove mercury from industrial and other waste streams and drinking water are essential. This study successfully trialled a new technique, using magnetised multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs), to remove mercury from waste water.
Categories: Environment news

Agricultural pesticides found in small streams in Germany

DG ENV - Wed, 20/06/2018 - 16:08
Small streams are important refuges for biodiversity, yet knowledge of the effects of agricultural pesticides on these freshwater bodies is limited. Researchers have used national monitoring data to determine the number of small streams in Germany where regulatory acceptable concentrations (RACs) of pesticides are exceeded. An analysis of data covering almost 500 pesticides and over 2 000 small streams suggests that agricultural land use is a major contributor of pesticides to streams. Overall, RACs were exceeded at 26% of sampled streams, and exceedances were 3.7 times more likely if a stream was near agricultural land. This finding may have implications for environmental monitoring and agri-environmental measures.
Categories: Environment news

Environmentally persistent free radicals: what do we know about this newly recognised class of pollutants?

DG ENV - Wed, 20/06/2018 - 16:08
The most important findings from over a decade of research into environmentally persistent free radicals (EPFRs), a new class of environmental pollutants, are presented in a recent review. These toxic particles could be partly responsible for some of the health problems, such as asthma, associated with particulate matter (PM) exposure. The researchers issue a warning that some engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) could increase levels of EPFRs in the environment.
Categories: Environment news

Fibres from polyester clothes could be more damaging to marine life than microbeads

DG ENV - Wed, 20/06/2018 - 16:08
Tiny polyester fibres, which are washed into rivers, lakes and seas every time we do our laundry could cause more harm to animals than plastic microbeads, finds a new study. The researchers looked at the effect of microbeads and fibres on a small crustacean called Ceriodaphnia dubia, which lives in freshwater lakes. They found that although both types of plastic were toxic, microfibres caused more harm. Both microplastics stunted the growth of the animals, and reduced their ability to have offspring; microfibres, however, did this to a greater degree, and also caused noticeable deformities in the crustacean’s body and antennae.
Categories: Environment news

Silver nanoparticles can have complex and toxic effects on wheat roots

DG ENV - Wed, 20/06/2018 - 16:08
A new study has examined the toxic effects of silver nanoparticles on plants. Using a range of spectroscopic and imaging techniques, the researchers demonstrate how silver nanoparticles can reduce the growth of wheat, as well as interfere with genes that help the plant deal with pathogens and stress.
Categories: Environment news

‘Cooling-off effect’ causes public perception of novel environmental technology to improve over time

DG ENV - Wed, 20/06/2018 - 16:08
Researchers have published a paper providing evidence that a ‘cooling-off effect’ can lead to increased public acceptance of new environmental technologies over time. The scientists analysed survey results from over 1 000 respondents in Germany, using solar radiation management (SRM), a controversial climate-engineering technique, as a test case. They found that, following a cooling-off period of either one month, 12 months, or 18 months, acceptance of SRM increased significantly — and that the longer the cooling-off period, the larger the increase. These findings have far-reaching implications, both for the deployment of SRM and for climate policymakers seeking to more accurately measure the public acceptability of novel interventions.
Categories: Environment news

Sustainable urban drainage systems: green roofs and permeable paving compared in southern Italy

DG ENV - Wed, 20/06/2018 - 16:08
A new study has looked at the potential of green infrastructure to compensate for the effects of soil sealing generated by urban development. It investigates how green roofs and permeable paving could contribute to flood mitigation in southern Italy. Using a hydraulic model technique, the researchers found that, in this particular urban case, green roofs were more effective than permeable paving. Policies to promote the adoption of sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS) by the private sector could thus prove more effective under certain circumstances, and policymakers should look at ways to promote SUDS where suitable.
Categories: Environment news

Processing London’s local food waste in an anaerobic digester avoids 3.9 tonnes of GHG emissions

DG ENV - Wed, 20/06/2018 - 16:08
Analysis of the operation of a novel, micro-scale anaerobic digester has shown that this technology could provide a useful means of processing food waste in urban areas. The study found that the digester, located in London and fed mainly with local food waste, avoided 3.9 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, while providing biogas for cooking, heat and power. Anaerobic digestion on this scale could play a part in reducing the amount of food waste that goes to landfill1 and contribute to the circular economy.
Categories: Environment news

Antibiotic resistance genes traced from manure to soil and water on Finnish farms

DG ENV - Wed, 20/06/2018 - 16:08
A new study has investigated the movement of antibiotic resistance genes between farm animals, soil and water in Finland. The results show that many of these genes are spread from animals to the soil through manure application; however, these genes do not appear to persist in soil. The study suggests that practices that minimise the use of antibiotics, as used in Finland, may lead to lower levels of clinically relevant resistance genes in agricultural soils.
Categories: Environment news

Are concentrations of certain critical metals and metalloids increasing in the environment due to their use in new technologies?

DG ENV - Wed, 20/06/2018 - 16:08
A recent study has assessed the environmental impact of a group of technology-critical elements (TCEs) — niobium (Nb), tantalum (Ta), gallium (Ga), indium (In), germanium (Ge) and tellurium (Te) — that, to date, have been relatively under-researched. The researchers reviewed published concentrations of these elements in environmental archives and evaluated trends over time in surface waters. Overall, they found no evidence that the rising use of these elements in modern technologies is causing environmental concentrations to increase on a global level. These findings are relevant to future policy discussions regarding the source, usage and presence of less-studied TCEs, particularly in relation to critical raw metals.
Categories: Environment news

Italian cities make progress towards smart mobility

DG ENV - Wed, 20/06/2018 - 16:08
The move towards smart mobility systems in cities across Italy, specifically in relation to public transport systems (including cycle infrastructure, and cycle and car-sharing schemes) has been assessed in a new study. The researchers say significant progress has been made in light of new guidelines imposed by the European Union, which is often linked to financial investment, as well as the capacity of city planners to implement changes.
Categories: Environment news

Water management on farms assessed by new tool, Flanders

DG ENV - Wed, 20/06/2018 - 16:08
Researchers have developed a new model that highlights how agricultural practices impact on water availability in the wider landscape. The model, AquaCrop-Hydro, could be used to inform agricultural management decisions and policy related to water and land use, to ensure best allocation of water resources. Such tools are not only useful currently, but will be especially important in future in areas where climate change impacts on water availability and affects crop productivity.
Categories: Environment news

Effects of air pollution on Mediterranean plants could be studied with reflectance spectroscopy

DG ENV - Wed, 20/06/2018 - 16:08
A technique called reflectance spectroscopy is the subject of a new literature review focusing on the use of this tool to study the effects of air pollution on vegetation. In particular, the researchers suggest that the technique could be more widely applied in the Mediterranean region, to study the effects of climate change and air pollution, which will be detrimental to crop growth as well as other vegetation. It could also be used as a more general biomonitoring technique for assessing pollutant levels in the environment.
Categories: Environment news

Floods due to rising sea levels may mobilise arsenic from contaminated soils

DG ENV - Wed, 20/06/2018 - 16:08
New research has shown that flooding of soils contaminated with arsenic, which may occur as sea levels rise due to climate change, could lead to the mobilisation of this toxic element in the environment. The study shows that arsenic is more stable in soil flooded with saltwater, compared to river water, as salt stabilises mineral oxides and could inhibit microbial activity. However, microbes that transform arsenic into water-soluble forms may adapt to saline conditions, and the risk of arsenic entering waters due to rising sea levels should receive further attention.
Categories: Environment news

Greenhouse gas emissions from household consumption mapped across the EU

DG ENV - Wed, 20/06/2018 - 16:08
An inventory of carbon footprints has been developed for 177 regions across 27 EU Member States. The map is the first to quantify greenhouse gas emissions associated with household consumption across the EU. It reveals significant regional differences based on income, household size and urban versus rural living.
Categories: Environment news

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