Environment news

Soil and Water: a larger perspective - November 2015

DG ENV - Thu, 29/06/2017 - 14:13
Land use changes over time have altered relations between soils and water cycles throughout the world. Soils have been lost and degraded, and the closely interlinked processes of soils and water have become an urgent issue for European policymakers. This Thematic Issue aims to provide a review of new research into the links between soil and water issues in Europe, including a message that the soil-water links must be considered at their proper spatial scales.
Categories: Environment news

Friday 7 - Saturday 8 July: G20 Summit, Hamburg

Presidency - Fri, 23/06/2017 - 10:17
European Commission - Upcoming events The news: The G20 Summit, under the German Presidency, takes place in Hamburg. The European Union will be represented by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk.
Categories: Environment news

Opening speech by President Juncker at the High Level Conference on Migration

Presidency - Wed, 21/06/2017 - 16:06
European Commission - Speech - [Check Against Delivery] Brussels, 21 June 2017 Presidente, carissimo Antonio, Presidente Pittella, Sehr verehrte Frau Vorsitzende Zimmer, Meine sehr verehrten Damen und Herren Abgeordnete, Ministers, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Unfortunately I cannot express myself in my native language, Luxembourgish, because only a few of you...
Categories: Environment news

EU innovation: some improvements but more even progress is needed

Research and Innovation - Tue, 20/06/2017 - 12:35
European Commission - Press release Brussels, 20 June 2017 The EU's innovation performance last year continued to grow despite somewhat uneven progress observed around Europe. This is one of the main findings of the latest Innovation Scoreboard published today by the European Commission.
Categories: Environment news

Statement by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on the passing away of former federal German Chancellor, Helmut Kohl

Presidency - Fri, 16/06/2017 - 20:43
European Commission - Statement Brussels, 16 June 2017 I am deeply saddened by the news of the passing away of Helmut Kohl, the former federal German Chancellor. He was a true confidant and ally to Europe and to me personally, and for this he will be missed.
Categories: Environment news

Screening tool developed to assess seismic risks from geothermal energy projects

DG ENV - Thu, 15/06/2017 - 13:56
A new screening tool to assess the potential seismic risks (earthquake activity) from deep geothermal energy projects has been outlined in a recent study. The tool provides categories of seismicity risk for projects, which are dependent on factors including geological aspects, as well as social concern and location in relation to urban areas.
Categories: Environment news

LED lighting changes grassland spider and beetle communities; dimmers and timers may reduce the impact

DG ENV - Thu, 15/06/2017 - 13:56
The influence of light-emitting diodes (LED) on grassland invertebrate communities has been assessed in a recent study. White LEDs increased the total abundance and changed the species of spiders and beetles recorded. Dimming lights and switching lights off during the middle of the night were the best ways of reducing the effects on beetle and spider numbers.
Categories: Environment news

New online oil spill risk tool provides local, specific information for coastal managers

DG ENV - Thu, 15/06/2017 - 13:56
A new oil-spill risk-management system has been developed by researchers, which shows the likely effects of a coastal spill on the environment and economic activities for specific locations. It provides maps of oil-spill risk through a web portal and could help decision makers and emergency-response authorities protect the local environment and businesses through targeted and efficient planning and responses.
Categories: Environment news

Managing water resources for an uncertain future: new method of robust planning

DG ENV - Thu, 15/06/2017 - 13:56
Water-supply planning that considers the preferences of multiple stakeholders under uncertain and variable future conditions are more robust than planning decisions based on historical conditions, a recent study has stated. Using the Thames river basin in the UK as an example, the researchers present a new computer-modelling approach to assess which combinations of water-management measures best secure future water supply under a wide range of possible future conditions.
Categories: Environment news

Review confirms climate change is threatening many ecosystem services

DG ENV - Thu, 15/06/2017 - 13:56
Climate change is having mixed — but mostly negative — impacts on ecosystem services, suggest data analysed by a new study. The research, which brings together the findings of over 100 other studies, found that 59% of reported impacts of climate change on ecosystem services are negative, while just 13% are positive. However, the method of research was shown to strongly influence whether impacts are reported as positive or negative, with expert opinion studies far more negative than other types of study.
Categories: Environment news

Additional legislation and enforcement needed to protect threatened and rare reptiles from the pet trade in Europe?

DG ENV - Thu, 15/06/2017 - 13:56
The prominent role of EU countries in the international trade of reptiles for pets, including many rare and illegally traded species, is highlighted in a recent study. The researchers call for better enforcement and tighter legislation to control the trade, which is a major threat to global biodiversity. In particular the researchers appeal for legislation to be passed for species protected in their native range countries, which can currently be freely traded in the EU if they are not subject to international trade conventions such as CITES.
Categories: Environment news

Europe could suffer major shellfish production losses due to ocean acidification

DG ENV - Thu, 15/06/2017 - 13:56
Ocean acidification threatens marine ecosystems worldwide, but economic assessments of its impact are lacking. A recent study has predicted the future cost of ocean acidification on mollusc production in Europe and showed that the highest economic impacts would be in France, Italy and Spain. For Europe overall, the annual damage could be in the region of €0.9 billion by 2100.
Categories: Environment news

Risk of silver nanoparticles to terrestrial plants is low, but increased by chlorine

DG ENV - Thu, 15/06/2017 - 13:56
Silver nanoparticles are used in a range of household products. This study investigated the risk to plants of these nanoparticles in soil, showing that risk was overall low but increased when soils contained high levels of chlorine. The researchers, therefore, suggest that the risk of silver nanoparticles to plants may increase in salty soils or those irrigated with poor-quality water. These findings could be important for future risk assessments.
Categories: Environment news

Europe's rivers ‘highly contaminated’ with long-chain perfluoroalkyl acids

DG ENV - Thu, 15/06/2017 - 13:56
Long-chain perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) are persistent chemicals with proven toxic effects. This study estimated the emissions and concentrations of two such chemicals, perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), in 11 of Europe's most populated river catchments. Estimated emissions were lowest in the Thames and highest in the Rhine, while the EU environmental quality standard for PFOS was exceeded in all rivers. This study provides a picture of PFAAs contamination in rivers across Europe, and makes recommendations for achieving reductions.
Categories: Environment news

Diverse plant communities improve soil structure and, therefore, ecosystem services

DG ENV - Thu, 15/06/2017 - 13:56
Plant diversity improves soil stability, the results of a greenhouse experiment and a long-term field study show. This study, which covered a range of different soil types, is one of the first to investigate the effects of plant diversity on soil structure, which is important for provision of ecosystem services, such as carbon storage and the mitigation of excessive run-off. The findings could help tackle the problem of soil degradation, the researchers suggest.
Categories: Environment news

Understanding uncertainty in air-quality modelling with new framework

DG ENV - Thu, 15/06/2017 - 13:56
A recent study develops a framework for implementing IAMs using the Lombardy region of Italy as a case study. Researchers have run an uncertainty and sensitivity analysis with an environmental model, specifically with an Integrated Assessment Model (IAM) for air quality, demonstrating how model components are sources of uncertainty in the output of an integrated assessment. Policy responses should therefore consider uncertainty and sensitivity when developing measures to improve air quality.
Categories: Environment news

Species diversity throughout the food chain maintains multiple ecosystem services more effectively

DG ENV - Thu, 15/06/2017 - 13:56
Biodiversity’s contribution to ecosystem services in grasslands — at different levels of the food chain (known as trophic levels1) — has been assessed in a new study. Higher species diversity across trophic levels — particularly for plants, insects and soil microbial decomposers — is important for the provision of multiple ecosystem services related to food production, recreational benefits, or climate regulation. Species diversity across different trophic groups was also found to be just as important in controlling ecosystem functioning as the management intensity of grasslands and environmental factors, such as climate or soil type.
Categories: Environment news

Which factors make drugs persistent? A look at sulphonamides in Polish rivers

DG ENV - Thu, 15/06/2017 - 13:56
Up to 90% of consumed drugs enter the environment. This may have negative effects on wildlife, especially when the drugs take long periods to break down. This study assessed the breakdown of sulphonamides — a class of antibacterials — in samples from two rivers in Poland. The results showed that sulphamethoxazole, a common veterinary antibiotic, was the most persistent and that various factors inhibit degradation, including low temperatures, heavy metal pollution and low pH.
Categories: Environment news

Banned pesticides continue to affect toxicity in streams

DG ENV - Thu, 15/06/2017 - 13:56
Many toxic pesticides have been banned by the EU, however some can remain in the environment for many decades. Aquatic invertebrates are particularly vulnerable to pesticides, which can alter their feeding behaviour, growth and mobility. New research has found that persistent pesticides can increase toxicity in streams by up to 10 000 times compared to the residues of currently used pesticides. The researchers recommend these be taken into account when calculating overall toxicity.
Categories: Environment news

QUICKScan: a quick, participatory method for exploring environmental policy problems

DG ENV - Thu, 15/06/2017 - 13:56
Policymakers often have to make decisions under great complexity, uncertainty and time pressure. A new study presents a support tool for the first stage of policymaking: identifying and exploring alternatives to solve problems. The software tool, called QUICKScan, increases the speed of this process and combines the input of many stakeholders in participatory workshops. It has been applied 70 times in 20 different countries, for a wide range of environmental policy issues.
Categories: Environment news

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