Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a potent greenhouse gas and atmospheric pollutant. A new study proposes tackling both problems by removing N2O from the atmosphere using a combination of two innovative technologies — photocatalytic breakdown of the N2O to nitrogen and oxygen, and this within a solar chimney power plant that generates renewable electricity. Although some way off from commercial development, the researchers say this approach is feasible, and they outline how these two technologies can be integrated to reduce the climate impact and polluting effects of N2O emissions.
A method for developing more cost-effective agri-environment schemes is outlined in a recent study. The procedure can be used over large areas, accounts for hundreds of management regimes and several different endangered species. The model is one of the first to account for the timing of measures and, when applied to Saxony in Germany, proposed savings of over €3 million, while also improving some conservation outcomes.
No cities are yet fully car-free, but many have managed or plan to restrict access to city centres for privately owned combustion-engine passenger cars. Health benefits will come from reduced traffic-related air pollution, less noise and lower levels of heat emitted from vehicles. The greatest health benefit, however, is likely to come from increased physical activity as people walk, cycle and move to catch public transport, according to a review of the potential health benefits of car-free cities.
Green public procurement (GPP) – authorities considering environmental criteria when allocating contracts to private suppliers – is becoming increasingly popular as an environmental policy instrument. This study analysed data from Swedish cleaning service procurements, finding a ‘weak’ effect on supplier behaviour in this situation. The researchers say that, for GPP to be an effective policy instrument, it is important to consider suppliers’ decisions to participate in procurement and to screen them against mandatory green criteria.
Climate change will have major consequences for transport networks, especially those located on coastlines. This study assessed the impact of projected sea-level rise on a vulnerable stretch of railway line on the coast of South West England. The authors say their semi-empirical modelling method could provide guidance to policymakers worldwide.
Invasive alien species pose a threat to biodiversity, human health and the economy. This study describes six alien species indicators for Europe, showing that the scale and impact of biological invasions are increasing across all indicators. The societal response has also increased in recent years. The researchers say their framework could serve as a basis for monitoring the efficacy of recent EU legislation.
Subway stations with platform sliding doors and good ventilation reduce passengers’ exposure to PM2.5
Underground trains are among the most widely used public transport systems in cities worldwide. A study investigating the chemical composition and source of particles in Barcelona subway stations found that a new station design, with sliding doors that separate the platform from the tunnel and good ventilation, reduced the concentration of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) by over 50% compared with older station designs.
There is a large potential to improve the global efficiency of energy, land and phosphorus use, finds new research which modelled the effects of four worldwide scenarios between 2010 and 2050. An ‘ambitious resource strategy’ could moderate the increases in energy use (+25% globally instead of +80% in the baseline scenario), phosphorus use (+9% instead of +40%) and arable land (-9% globally, instead of + 4%).
Research has found evidence for recent contamination of Lake Como, northern Italy, with chemicals banned in the EU since the 1970s. Levels of DDT and PCBs in sediment, aquatic microorganisms and fish were examined. The results suggest glacial meltwater as a source for renewed DDT contamination and show recent contamination of fish above safe levels. The findings demonstrate the need for continued monitoring of persistent organic pollutants in European waters.
Speech by President Juncker at the European Parliament on President Trump's decision to withdraw the U.S. from the COP 21 Climate Agreement
European Commission - Speech - [Check Against Delivery] Speech Strasbourg, 14 June 2017 Mr President, Madam President, Madam President of the Council, Distinguished Members, When I addressed the Paris Conference in November 2015 I saw the world united around a simple goal: to hand over to future generations...
Speech by President Juncker at the European Parliament on the preparation of the European Council of 22 and 23 June 2017
European Commission - Speech - [Check Against Delivery] Speech Strasbourg, 14 June 2017 Good morning, Mr President, Minister, Honourable Members of Parliament, Since we last met here one month ago, Europe has again seen its way of life attacked through cowardly acts of terrorism.
G7 Environment Ministers' Meeting - Press Statement, on behalf of the European Union, by Commissioner Karmenu Vella
European Commission - Statement Brussels, 12 June 2017 I would like to echo the other colleagues and thank Minister Galletti for his excellent hospitality and skillful chairing, as well as the citizens of Bologna for their warm welcome.
Remarks by President Juncker at the joint press conference with Bohuslav Sobotka, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, and Rose Gottemoeller, NATO Deputy Secretary-General
European Commission - Speech - [Check Against Delivery] Prague, 9 June 2017 Hello, good morning, I am happy to be here in Prague, not for the first time, and certainly not for the last time. Around one year ago, the Prime Minister approached me to launch the initiative of...
Speech by President Jean-Claude Juncker at the Defence and Security Conference Prague: In defence of Europe
European Commission - Speech - [Check Against Delivery] Speech Prague, 9 June 2017 Prime Minister, Deputy Secretary-General, Ministers, Vice-Presidents, Commissioners, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, It is the most basic and universal of rights to feel safe and secure in your own home.
Speech by President Jean-Claude Juncker on the occasion of the award of the Golden Commemorative Medal of the Charles University in Prague
European Commission - Speech - [Check Against Delivery] Speech Prague, 8 June 2017 Dobrý den. Rector, Vice-rector, Professors, students, presidents, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, It is an honour to stand in front of you in this Great Historical Hall, in one of the oldest universities in Europe...
European Commission - Statement Brussels, 8 June 2017 On the occasion of the World Oceans Day (8 June), Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Karmenu Vella; Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, made the following statement: Today we celebrate World...
European Commission - Fact Sheet Brussels, 7 June 2017 Why do we need a European Defence Fund? The EU is facing the most severe security challenges of the past 60 years. As outlined in Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker's political guidelines in 2014 and stated in his State of the Union...