EEA annual survey highlights key environmental trends in Europe

The European Environment Agency (EEA) 2004 survey points to the growing economic burden of climate related disasters and calls for industry to incorporate environmental costs into prices.

The 2004 edition of the annual survey of environmental trends
in the EEA's 31 member countries, EEA Signals 2004, was published
on 1 June 2004. The report compiles the latest trends for key
environmental indicators.

One of the main messages is the increasing economic burden of
climate related disasters on the European economy. Figures have
doubled in the 1990s and now amount to "10 billion euros per year
and rising" according to conservative estimates from the agency.
EEA Executive Director Prof. Jacqueline McGlade, says "this is
money that could otherwise be spent in productive ways, for example
to promote competitiveness and innovation, which are defining
conditions for delivering sustainable economic growth".

McGlade says the key message in this year's report is the need
to "make further progress in managing the environmental impacts of
agriculture, transport and energy in particular, as well as
influencing changes in consumer behaviour".

Highlighted issues include:

  • Nitrate pollution from farming
  • Air pollution in urban areas
  • Waste generation, from packaging in particular

The EEA recommends making greater use of market-based
instruments to incorporate the environmental costs of pollution
into prices. It gives environmentally targeted subsidies as an
example that could be applied to agriculture or to promote
innovation on renewable energies.


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