Increasing global demands for natural resources are heaping increased pressure on Europe's environment and posing a significant threat to the continent's economic health, the European Environment Agency (EEA) warned today.
Publishing its fourth Environment State and Outlook report (SOER 2010), the EEA said that if Europe's stocks of natural capital continue to be depleted, the region's economy would ultimately be undermined and social cohesion eroded.
It added that changing production and consumption patterns had heralded widespread alteration of landscapes, degradation of ecosystems and loss of natural capital, meaning the EU will not meet its target of halting biodiversity loss by 2010.
"We are consuming more natural resources than is ecologically stable. This is true for both Europe and the planet as a whole," said professor Jacqueline McGlade, executive director of the EEA. "Climate change is the most visible sign of instability so far, but a range of global trends suggests greater systemic risks to ecosystems in future. The nature of the current financial crisis should give us pause for thought."
The report also echoed scientific papers published earlier in the week, which warned that global and European targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions are far from sufficient to keep average world temperature increases below 2°C.
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