European Commission - Press release Brussels, 17 May 2018 The Juncker Commission is undertaking the third and final set of actions to modernise Europe's transport system. In his State of the Union address of September 2017, President Juncker set out a goal for the EU and its industries to become...
European Commission - Press release Brussels, 17 May 2018 The Commission is standing up for Europeans' need to breathe clean air. The Commission is providing national, regional and local actors with practical help to improve air quality in Europe, and stepping up its enforcement against 7 Member States who have...
European Commission - Press release Brussels, 15 May 2018 The Commission today presents its contribution to the informal discussion that Heads of State and Government will hold in Sofia on 16 May 2018 on research and innovation and the steps needed to ensure Europe's global competitiveness.
European Commission - Press release Brussels, 9 May 2018 Today, on Europe Day, the European Commission is launching an online public consultation addressed to all Europeans, asking them what direction they want the European Union to take in the future.
New soil-sensing method enables more detailed, rapid and efficient environmental monitoring of soil carbon stocks and condition
In-depth soil information is increasingly required to achieve an array of environmental and economic goals. In particular, accurate estimates of soil carbon stocks are necessary to guide land-management practices and climate- related policymaking. To help meet this need, Australian scientists have developed a new sensing method to analyse cylindrical soil samples (soil cores), known as the Soil Condition ANalysis System (SCANS). By integrating a novel automated soil- core sensing system (CSS) with advanced statistical analytics and modelling, the SCANS provides a level of detail that is difficult to achieve with existing alternatives. SCANS is not only rapid, accurate and inexpensive1, but is likely to be a useful tool for farmers, land managers and policymakers, as the improved assessment of soil functions, structures and carbon stocks will facilitate more informed, sustainable decision-making.
Hybrid and electric vehicles emit lower levels of carbon dioxide and air pollutants than conventional petrol and diesel vehicles, yet their market uptake in the EU remains limited. New research provides an assessment of the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) — which combines purchase and operating expenses — of different vehicle types. By comparing historical data on hybrid, petrol and diesel vehicles in three countries (Japan, the UK and the USA), researchers found a strong link between TCO and market share of those vehicles. They also identified a number of ways in which policymakers may promote the adoption of cleaner vehicles through the provision of financial incentives.
In addition to reducing carbon emissions, policies promoting efficient energy use can encourage innovation in the manufacturing sector. This study evaluated the innovation effect of household energy policies using a comprehensive dataset of 21 European countries. The results show that policies such as financial subsidies and product labels can promote the development of sustainable-energy technologies.
European Commission - Fact Sheet Brussels, 2 May 2018 1. General What is the long-term EU budget? The long-term EU budget, also referred to as Multiannual Financial Framework (or 'MFF'), provides a stable framework for implementing the EU's annual budget.
European Commission - Statement Brussels, 24 April 2018 It is with shock and sorrow that I learnt of the tragic attack in Toronto on Monday afternoon. I send my deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims, as well as to Prime Minister Trudeau and...
European Commission - Fact Sheet Brussels, 21 April 2018 On 21 April 2018 the European Union and Mexico reached a deal on a new trade agreement. It will be part of a broader, modernised EU-Mexico Global Agreement and will deepen and broaden the scope of an existing trade agreement signed...
European Commission - Press release Brussels, 21 April 2018 The European Union and Mexico today reached a new agreement on trade, part of a broader, modernised EU-Mexico Global Agreement. Practically all trade in goods between the EU and Mexico will now be duty-free, including in the agricultural sector.
Effective flood-risk management requires accurate risk-analysis models. Conventional analysis approaches, however, are based on the evaluation of spatially homogenous scenarios, which do not account for variation in flooding across a river reach/ region. Since flood events are often spatially heterogeneous (i.e. unevenly distributed), this paves the way for error. Now, scientists have developed a novel framework for risk analysis that accounts for their heterogeneity, and successfully demonstrated the accuracy of the approach by applying it in a proof-of-concept exercise in Vorarlberg, Austria. By facilitating improved prediction and quantification of flood events, this model is likely to inform future flood-risk management and related decision-making.
Plastic waste in the environment presents cause for concern, but scientific understanding of its exact impacts is still in its infancy. A team of Dutch scientists has presented recommendations on how to develop a new assessment method which provides clear, specific evidence on the risks of plastic waste. Once developed, this method could inform scientifically sound policies for managing plastic waste.
Radiation processing may be faster, cleaner and more efficient at removing pollutants from drinking and waste water than conventional techniques
The presence of organic pollutants in waste water and drinking water can have alarming environmental and public health implications. Current water treatment methods have limitations: they can only remove certain contaminants, to certain extents, and also produce harmful by-products. New and improved methods are required. A recent review paper presents radiation processing as a promising approach, providing strong evidence of its efficacy, efficiency, safety, and feasibility. Focusing particularly on the use of electron-beam processing for the removal of organic pollutants from waste water and drinking water, the researchers present a compelling picture, relevant to stakeholders involved in water treatment and management.
The application to crops of struvite (magnesium ammonium phosphate) recovered from waste water may cause antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) present in this fertiliser to enter the food chain. Chinese researchers who conducted this study on Brassica plants suggest that ARGs in struvite pass from the soil into the roots of the plant, and from the roots to the leaves, via the bacterial community already present. The results of this research highlight the need for struvite production methods and agricultural practices that minimise the risk of antibiotic-resistance transmission from struvite to humans or animals via the environment.
European Commission - Press release Strasbourg, 18 April 2018 The Commission today presented the outcome of negotiations for the Economic Partnership Agreement with Japan and the trade and investment agreements with Singapore to the Council. This is the first step towards the signature and conclusion of these agreements.
European Commission - Fact Sheet Strasbourg, 18 April 2018 The negotiations for the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement were launched in 2013. This Economic Partnership Agreement will boost trade in goods and services as well as create opportunities for investment.
European Commission - Statement Brussels, 14 April 2018 Last night, France, the United Kingdom and the United States responded in a coordinated military action to the heinous chemical weapons attack carried out by the Syrian regime against civilians in Douma on 7 April.
Commissioners Bulc and Arias Cañete welcome the IMO agreement on CO2 reductions in the maritime sector
European Commission - Statement Brussels, 13 April 2018 Following the agreement reached today at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) on an initial strategy to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international shipping, Commissioner for Transport Violeta Bulc and Commissioner for Energy and Climate Action Miguel Arias Cañete issued the following...
It is important to understand the extent to which atmospheric (air) pollution damages plants (i.e. its phytotoxicity) as well as the wider ecosystem (i.e. its ecotoxicity). For this reason, researchers have adapted the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Vegetative Vigour Test1 for the assessment of the ecotoxicity of samples of aerosol (suspensions of fine solid particles or liquid droplets in air). Typically, the test involves spraying the trial liquid on above-ground portions of the plant, such as the leaves. The adapted protocol involves extracting water-soluble aerosol compounds from aerosol samples to spray on the plant. The new protocol is sensitive enough to determine phytotoxicity and establish a clear cause–effect relationship, and as such has the potential to serve as a useful tool for the assessment of the effects of air pollution on environmental and human health.