The first progress report on the climate and environmental objectives of the 8th Environment Action Programme (8EAP) published by the European Environment Agency today highlights what needs to be done to achieve the EU’s 2030 environmental targets. The report underlines the need to conclude negotiations on the Green Deal proposals the Commission put forward and are still under negotiation, and to deliver systemic changes in key industrial sectors, in particular agriculture, food and mobility. This will be greatly helped by the effective implementation of Green Deal legislation on the ground. The assessment shows progress in areas including greenhouse gas emissions, air quality, greening finances and the overall economy. However, more effort is needed to achieve systemic change across systems (food, energy, mobility, trade, buildings etc.) and ensure wellbeing for all within planetary boundaries.
Some recommendations include shifting the taxation burden to those using more resources and causing more pollution and accelerating the phasing out of environmentally harmful subsidies, which can help increase public and private financing dedicated to the green transition. More progress is also needed on more sustainable production and consumption patterns, while boosting competitiveness, resilience and strategic autonomy. The EU economy is still using too many raw materials and energy sources associated with high levels of air, water and soil pollution, and thus putting significant pressures on ecosystems, biodiversity, land and water.
The progress report is based on the 8th EAP monitoring framework, presented by the Commission in 2022. It monitors and assesses progress in achieving climate and environmental objectives in the EU and its 27 Member States. Building on data evidence and expertise, the report assesses EU progress towards climate neutrality, resilience and global sustainability.
Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius said:
The European Green Deal is the EU’s plan to tackle the triple crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution and the 8th Environment Action Programme provides the framework to deliver it. EEA’s progress report shows that despite progress, the impact on the ground is not happening fast enough yet. While most of the Green Deal’s climate legislation has been adopted, important pieces of environmental legislation still need to be agreed. We now need to move forward quickly to adopt the remaining laws and focus on their implementation.
Commissioner for Climate Action, Wopke Hoekstra said:
This EEA progress report shows the crucial importance of taking the necessary measures to meet our climate and energy targets. This October, the EU finalised key legislation to ensure we reduce emissions by 55% by 2030. Member States are working hard on implementing this legislation and revising their National Energy and Climate Plans to align them with the 2030 targets. The European Commission will continue to support this work and keep track of our progress so that we have all the measures in place to translate Europe’s climate ambition into action. It is what science demands, and our kids deserve.
The first Environment Action Programme (EAP) celebrates its 50th birthday this year. It was adopted as a Declaration of the Council of the European Communities and the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States on 22 November 1973, to set the principles and objectives of the Community environment policy. It was the EU response to the Club of Rome’s Limits to Growth report, and followed the Declaration of the United Nations conference on the human environment adopted in Stockholm. The 8EAP Decision, adopted in 2022, contributes to delivering the objectives set in the European Green Deal. The EAP is a legal tool to engage governments, administrators and stakeholders to contribute to achieving environmental objectives.
In 2022, the Commission adopted an EU monitoring framework for the 8EAP to measure progress towards the attainment of the Programme’s 2023 and 2050 priority objectives, in consultation with Member States and stakeholders. The framework monitors progress in the EU and its Member States and is based on available data from official European sources. It includes 28 indicators addressing the priority objectives of climate change mitigation and adaptation, circular economy, zero pollution and biodiversity, as well as the objective of addressing climate and environmental pressures, the enabling conditions and the overarching objective of living well, within the planetary boundaries.
8th Environment Action Programme, Decision (EU) 2022/591
Monitoring framework for the 8th Environment Action Programme, COM(2022)357 final
- Publication date
- 18 December 2023
- Directorate-General for Environment