Report on the implementation of the 8th Environmental Action Program (EAP)

Raport w sprawie realizacji 8 programu działań w zakresie środowiska (EAP)

On December 18 this year. The European Environment Agency (EEA) has published its first progress report on the implementation of the 2022-2030 environmental action program, known as the 8. EAP. According to experts, positive changes are a fact, but their pace is insufficient. In particular, it stressed the need to conclude negotiations on the Green Deal strategy as soon as possible, which is a key tool for combating the triple crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.

What is an EAP and what purpose does it serve?

The first EAP was developed exactly half a century ago and was a response to the one issued in 1972. by the Club of Rome’s Limits to Growth study, which includes demographic projections and a natural resource depletion scenario. In the introduction to the just published report reads that the 8th EAP is the European Union’s legally binding, overarching environmental policy until 2030, while setting priorities until 2050. The program identifies six key goals and the conditions needed to achieve them. These are climate change mitigation and adaptation, circular economy, toxin- and pollution-free environment, biodiversity, and climate and environmental pressures on EU production and consumption.

Evaluation of the implementation of 8 so far. EAP

The current program for each priority area specifies monitoring indicators. In 2023, a year after the start of the EAP, targets such as a 55 percent reduction in premature deaths due to air pollution and an increase in the share of “green” jobs in the economy in 2030 were considered very likely to be achieved, with satisfactory progress in these areas. Over the past decades, a 31 percent reduction in net greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990, an increase in the area of land and marine protected areas between 2011 and 2021, and an increase in the share of RES in total energy production were also considered optimistic.

Unfortunately, the implementation of most of the goals of the 8. The EAP was already deemed unlikely by the report’s authors at this stage. There was the greatest skepticism about achieving the adopted ceilings for carbon sequestration by the LULUCF sector, reducing overall energy consumption or increasing the share of organic farming in European agriculture. Also of concern is the increase in the area affected by drought (to 631,000. km2) or the reduction of bird populations in the last three decades.

Recommendations of the report

Efforts by EU member states still appear insufficient to meet the ambitious EAP goals. In particular, it emphasizes the need for broad systemic changes, including food and energy production, trade, mobility and construction. The EU economy still uses too many natural resources, and modern sources of energy extraction are associated with air, water and soil pollution. In terms of the enabling conditions for the EAP’s priorities, shifting the tax burden to those who use more natural resources and pollute the environment, and phasing out subsidies for environmentally harmful activities, were considered crucial.

A steady increase in spending on environmental infrastructure, particularly in the area of wastewater and waste management, was cited as a positive development. However, the European Commission forecasts that a further €77 billion will be needed to meet EAP goals. In this context, it is advantageous to increase the share of the so-called “”new”. “green bonds” in the total bond market over the past two years. This trend should continue to encourage investors to finance pro-environmental projects.

Increase the pace

Europe’s march toward climate neutrality, resilience and sustainability is evident, but too slow. The EU’s commissioner for the environment. Environment Minister Virginijus Sinkevičius, commenting on the report, recalled that the Green Deal is a plan, and the EAP provides the backbone needed for its implementation. While most of the climate part of the Green Deal has already been passed, key elements of the environmental legislation still need to be agreed upon. We must act quickly, adopt the remaining resolutions and focus on their implementation – The commissioner said.

The commissioner for the Ministry of Agriculture. Climate change expert Wopke Hoekstra stressed that member states are actively working to implement legislation to reduce emissions by 55 percent. to 2030 and adjusting national energy and climate plans. The European Commission will continue to support these activities and monitor progress. “Science demands it, and our children deserve it,” Hoekstra added.

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