Tag Archive: european environment agency

  1. Health-damaging polluted air – EU citizens could sue their governments

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    Source: euractiv, Georgi Gotev

    A top court advisor shared that citizens in European Union countries may be able to sue their governments for compensation if their health is damaged by illegal levels of air pollution

    The European Environmental Agency estimates air pollution to be responsible for roughly 300,000 premature deaths a year in Europe. Following 10 EU countries being found guilty of illegal air pollution by the Luxembourg Court of Justice of the EU in the last 10 years, an advisor to the court has stated that citizens may be able to sue their home countries.

    An infringement of the limit values for the protection of air quality under EU law may give rise to entitlement to compensation from the State,” the court said in a statement.

    An individual must be able to prove that the damage to their health was caused directly by air pollution. “This legal confirmation that there are routes to hold those in power to account is a major breakthrough in the fight for clean and healthy air,” said Irmina Kotiuk, lawyer at environmental law firm ClientEarth.

  2. EEA: Air Pollution goes Down in Europe during Coronavirus

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    The European Environment Agency’s (EEA) data confirm large decreases in air pollutant concentrations — of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentrations in particular — largely due to reduced traffic and other activities, especially in major cities under lockdown measures. Reductions of around half have been seen in some locations. The EEA’s data are measured hourly, on the ground, at about 3,000 monitoring stations across European countries.

    ‘’The EEA’s data show an accurate picture of the drop in air pollution, especially due to reduced traffic in cities. However, addressing long-term air quality problems requires ambitious policies and forward-looking investments. As such, the current crisis and its multiple impacts on our society work against what we are trying to achieve, which is a just and well-managed transition towards a resilient and sustainable society’’, says Hans Bruyninckx, EEA Executive Director

    The EEA’s data for recent weeks show how concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a pollutant mainly emitted by road transport, have decreased in many Italian cities. For example:

    • In Milan, average concentrations of NO2 for the past four weeks have been at least 24 % lower than four weeks earlier this year. The average concentration during the week of 16-22 March was 21 % lower than for the same week in 2019.
    • In Bergamo, there has been a constant decline in NO2 pollution over the past four weeks. The average concentration during the week of 16-22 March was 47 % lower than for the same week in 2019.
    • In Rome, average NO2 concentrations for the past four weeks were 26-35 % lower than for the same weeks in 2019.

    Similar trends can be seen in other European cities where lockdown measures have been implemented during the week of 16-22 March.

    • In Barcelona, average NO2 levels went down by 40 % from one week to the next. Compared with the same week in 2019, the reduction was 55 %.
    • In Madrid, average NO2 levels went down by 56 % from one week to the next. Compared with the same week in 2019, the reduction was 41 %.
    • In Lisbon, average NO2 levels went down by 40 % from one week to the next. Compared with the same week in 2019, the reduction was 51 %.

    Background information. Exposure to air pollution can lead to adverse health effects, including respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Several health authorities have warned that those citizens with certain pre-existing conditions, such as respiratory illnesses, may have an increased vulnerability to COVID-19.  However, at present it is not clear whether ongoing exposure to air pollution might worsen the condition of those infected by the virus. Further epidemiological research by the EEA is needed to address such questions.

    Full EEA article

     

  3. Bad EEA report for transport

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    The European Environment Agency Briefing “Transport and Environment Reporting Mechanism (TERM)” gives the annual progress assessment based on a series of indicators which track the progress of the transport sector in meeting related policy targets and objectives. Issues covered in the briefing include emissions, air pollution, noise and renewable energy and the impact of transport on ecosystems and biodiversity. The report for 2016 is not good and is yet another proof that policy has to acknowledge light electric vehicles as a key factor in solving the problems.

    Key findings:

    Provisional data shows that in 2016, greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector (including international aviation but excluding maritime shipping) across the EU-28 were 25 % higher than in 1990, confirming an upward trend in emissions since 2014.
    The average carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of new passenger vans and cars in 2016 were below the respective target paths for 2020 and 2021, although considerable reductions still need to be made in the coming years for manufacturers to meet future targets.
    While sales of new diesel passenger cars have decreased in recent years, the share of diesel used in road transport (including for freight transport by heavy-duty vehicles) has continued to rise, amounting to more than 66 % of total fuel sales in road transport in 2015, compared with 51 % in 2000.
    Oil consumption by the transport sector will need to fall by more than two-thirds to meet the objective of reducing consumption by 70 % by 2050 compared with 2008 levels.
    The share of renewable energy in transport in the EU rose from 6.7 % in 2015 to 7.1 % in 2016, lower than the 10 % target set for 2020. Three Member States (Austria, Finland and Sweden) have already reached the 10 % goal.
    Transport is the main source of environmental noise in Europe and contributes to pressure on ecosystem and biodiversity habitats. It also continues to be a significant source of harmful air pollution, especially through emissions of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter.

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