A new report published by the European Environment Agency (EEA), The European Environment – State and Outlook 2015 (SOER 2015), provides an interesting perspective on the state of the European Union’s environment and the success of the region and individual countries in progressing towards the climate goals set out for them in national and EU strategy for 2020, 2030, and beyond. The report is based on environmental information and data sourced from the European Environment Information and Observation Network, a network of 39 countries.

The SOER 2015 report is divided into three categories, a synthesis repot which assess the European environment from a global perspective as well as the prevailing trends and the state of the environment in Europe, an assessment of 11 global megatrends and their relevance for Europe, and a series of briefings on all 39 individual countries and regions in the area. The synthesis report aims to support the implementation of the European environmental policy from 2015 on, helping to increase the efficiency of these efforts in the lead up to 2020.

Building on the results of an assessment of the prevailing environmental trends in Europe, the report reaches a conclusion regarding the persistent, systemic challenges facing European countries as they strive to mitigate the effects of climate change. The trends assessed in the report are divided into three categories: Protecting, conserving, and enhancing natural capital; Resource efficiency and the low-carbon economy; and Safeguarding from environmental risks to health.

The report concludes that, despite some of the positive progress made on the level of individual trends, the outlook is not altogether promising:

“In summary, the systemic and transboundary nature of many long-term environmental challenges are significant obstacles to achieving the EU's 2050 vision of living well within the limits of the planet. Europe's success in responding to these challenges will depend greatly on how effectively it implements existing environmental policies and takes necessary additional steps to formulate integrated approaches to today's environmental and health challenges.”

The country assessments included in the report provide a perspective on the role which regional policies and efforts in the larger context of the findings of the Europe-wide report while a series of thematic comparison reports compare the various countries’ environments to each other and illuminate the successes and prospects within each category.

Read the SOER 2015 report at the EEA’s website 

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