Transition to a Green European Economy Offers Substantial Benefits

The European Environment Agency (EEA) has launched its fourth Environment State and Outlook report (SOER 2010). This report provides an overview of the state of Europe’s environment, how and why it is changing, and what we are doing about it.

The Environmental Protection Agency provided Ireland’s input into the SOER 2010 analysis through the EPA’s Environment in Focus website. Environment in Focus provides accessible, up-to-date environmental indicators and analysis arranged under seven themes – climate change, air, water, waste, land, nature and socio-economics.

Dr Mary Kelly, EPA director general.

Dr Mary Kelly, EPA director general, comments: “The EPA welcomes the publication of the EEA SOER 2010 report. Many of the issues highlighted by the EEA as challenges for the European environment are also issues in Ireland, as demonstrated by the analysis provided to the EEA through Environment in Focus.”

The EEA report states that a fully integrated approach to transforming Europe to a resource-efficient green economy can result, not only in a healthy environment, but also in a boost to prosperity and social cohesion.

“We support the EEA findings that the transition to a genuinely green economy has substantial benefits, not only for the environment, but also for the economy and society as a whole,” agrees Dr Kelly. “It would give us an opportunity to ensure that economic growth, when it returns, is sustainable. This is an important consideration, particularly in these difficult economic times.”

The report confirms that environmental policy, and actions in related areas, in the European Union and neighbouring countries have delivered substantial environmental improvements. Yet many challenges remain. There are increasing demands on natural resources to feed, clothe, house and transport people. Increased understanding of the links between climate change, biodiversity, resource use and people’s health all point to growing pressures on land, rivers and seas.

The EEA calls for increased resource efficiency and environmental protection, a better understanding of the value of the environment in monetary terms and a reflection of this in market prices – for example through environmental taxes. The Environment State and Outlook report 2010 encourages a greater understanding of the state of the environment and its future outlook and calls for an increased engagement of the public in developing environmental policy.

The Environment State and Outlook report – SOER2010 is available on the EEA website at

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