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By ROE News on 12/9/2016 12:56 AM
Hikes across crisp, untouched snow; skiing through silent winter forests; or relaxing in a mountain hut, with a fire roaring and a blizzard outside, are all things that you would expect to find in the European Alps in winter.

However, climate change has been warming the European Alps - accelerating the amount of snowmelt and glacial retreat. Over the last four decades snow cover extent in Europe has decreased 13 % on average for March and April[1].

The decrease in snow in Northern Europe is just one of the worrying impacts of climate change highlighted by the sixth Global Environment Outlook report for the pan-European region. If this interests you and to read on the impacts for your part of Europe, find out more on p.56.

By ROE News on 12/9/2016 12:26 AM

At the 13th Conference of the Parties - Convention on Biological Diversity, Cancún, Mexico

The Slovak Presidency of the EU Council, together with the Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention, UN Environment and the Convention on Biological Diversity, is organizing a debate on mountain biodiversity – and  the need to  better include its protection in all relevant economic sectors to ensure sustainability in these vulnerable regions.The session will draw on best practices and solutions that have led to species conservation and increased human well-being in the Carpathians, as well as other mountain regions such as the Alps and Hindu-Kush Himalayas. It will furthermore provide guidance towards implementation of the Cancún declaration.

The side event aims to recall the importance of protecting and conserving biodiversity in mountain areas, where ecosystem services play a vital role in the well-being of mountain communities but also those in downstream...
By ROE News on 12/2/2016 2:00 AM
Peregrine Falcons, or Falco peregrinus, are known as ‘the fastest birds on Earth,’ with record stoop speeds of 322 km/h. Their hooked claws and swiftness make them fierce hunters, able to catch prey six times their body weight[i].

In the 1960s and 70s, pesticide contamination led to eggshell breakages and adult and embryo deaths, resulting in a severe decline in the number of Peregrine Falcons.

Yet changes in agriculture policies, policies to reintroduce the falcons and improved protection have helped the falcon soar again. Their European population is now estimated at 14,900-28,800 pairs, which equates to 29,700- 57,600 mature individuals[ii].

The Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) also...
By ROE News on 11/25/2016 3:35 AM
While our vibrant cities are centres of innovation and of course wealth creation, they also have high levels of pollution – leading to environment and health problems. All of us – including citizens, researchers, urban planners, mayors and teachers – must therefore work together to build healthier cities. 

European cities need more green spaces that boost physical activity, reduce stress and freshen the air! Imagine how beautiful our cities could be with better air, less noise, more parks, roof gardens, cleaner transport systems and so on…

Copenhagen is showing the way and aims to be a CO2 neutral city by 2025. Urban planning and strategic policies are at the core of this revolution. Across the city, visitors are greeted by streams of cyclists. In Copenhagen 50% of all citizens commute by bike every day and there are more bikes than inhabitants[i]. Already in 2010, yearly health benefits of cycling...
By ROE News on 11/18/2016 2:58 AM
Of all of the food produced in the world one third is thrown away, amounting to 1.3 billion tonnes a year and accounting for 28 percent of global agricultural land.

To put this into perspective, it is estimated that in Europe alone food waste could feed up to 200 million people, report FAO[i].

This is not only wasting land, energy and water resources. The energy used to produce, harvest, transport and package wasted food contributes to approximately 8 percent of annual anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions – meaning that wasted food almost has as big a role to play in emissions as road transport[ii]!

Right now, about 20,000 delegates from 179 countries are meeting in...
By ROE News on 11/11/2016 5:04 AM
One third of people living in the pan-European region are estimated to be living in countries facing considerable water stress – meaning demand exceeds the amount available for a set period[i]. 

Yet some countries are taking the lead and recycling treated wastewater. Cyprus for example reuses every drop of its water that would have been destined for waste!

Spain also converts a thunderous 347 million cubic metres of wastewater into irrigation for agriculture each year. In Israel, 280 million cubic metres of water are recycled – representing 83% of the country’s total treated wastewater.

Huge potential exists for saving water through economic incentives and behavioural changes.

If this interests you, find out more from p.104 in the sixth Global Environment Outlook report for the pan-European region.

By ROE News on 11/4/2016 7:28 AM
The Global Goals are not just rhetoric and Kazakhstan can in many ways lead their translation into national action, the Director of UN Environment’s Europe Office has said in a speech to Kazakh parliamentarians yesterday.

In May 2013, Kazakhstan adopted a new policy for transitioning to a Green Economy, with the aims of creating 500,000 jobs and increasing GDP by 3%, while at the same time cutting emissions 40% by 2050.

The policy’s dual aims capture the spirit of the Global Goals, which do not treat the environment as a stand-alone issue, and show how economic and social progress and greening our economies go hand-in-hand, Mr Dusik told deputies in the country’s lower House of Parliament - the Mazhilis.

However, the 2030 development agenda “is not just rhetoric or about ticking the boxes of reports presented in New York,” he underlined.

“When we talk about Global Goal 13 on climate action, we mean adapting to climate change for the farmers who are struggling to have enough water to give to their crops” for example, Mr Dusik stressed.

By ROE News on 11/4/2016 1:24 AM
Partly due to intensive urban development, the temperature of surface soil in Astana can reach a stifling 65–70°C in the summer.

Green spaces cool and clean the air, capture carbon dioxide, are home to wildlife and have positive effects on mental health. To capture these benefits, Astana plans to see 52% of its land area flourish with green cover by 2030.

Astana’s eco-city plan will see green 'corridors' link forest belts in the suburbs with parks outside the city, for a combined ecosystem planned to cover 1,490 hectares.

As a result of this and together with other environmental measures, Astana aims to have a higher proportion of green land compared to city area than Berlin, Moscow or Stockholm!

If this interests you, find out more on p. 35, 206, and 207 in the sixth Global Environment Outlook report for the pan-European region....
By ROE News on 11/3/2016 3:04 AM
The world must urgently and dramatically increase its ambition to cut roughly a further quarter off predicted 2030 global greenhouse emissions and have any chance of minimizing dangerous climate change, UN Environment said today as it released its annual Emissions Gap report.

Made public the day before the Paris Agreement comes into force, the report finds that 2030 emissions are expected to reach 54 to 56 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent – far above the level of 42 needed to have a chance of limiting global warming to 2oC this century. One gigatonne is roughly equivalent to the emissions generated by transport in the European Union (including aviation) over a year.

Scientists agree that limiting global warming to under 2oC this century (compared to pre-industrial levels), will reduce the likelihood of more-intense storms, longer droughts, sea-level rise and other severe climate impacts. Even hitting the lower target of 1.5 oC will only reduce, rather than eliminate, impacts.