Europe steps towards resource efficient future, but must still address overconsumption24 May 2012
by foeeurope -- last modified 24 May 2012
As pressure on world’s natural resources increases rapidly, European Parliament showed overwhelming support today for measuring Europe’s use of resources, in a step towards a resource efficient future, including full incorporation of resource efficiency into the Europe 2020 economic agenda.
Europe will not make the most of the environmental, economic and
social benefits of resource efficiency without clear targets to
reduce, in absolute terms, Europe’s consumption of resources,
according to Friends of the Earth Europe.
Today’s vote finalised the European Parliament’s views on the Resource Efficiency Roadmap published by the European Commission. The vote endorsed a number of key polices necessary to ensure Europe can cope with a future of more constrained and expensive resources, but clear targets are needed to tackle Europe’s overconsumption of the world’s natural resources.
Ariadna Rodrigo, resource use campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe, said: “We now have full parliamentary support for Europe to start measuring its land, water, carbon and material footprints; a crucial step towards creating a more resource efficient Europe.
But to fully benefit from this it’s vital Europe also addresses its overconsumption of the world’s increasingly scarce natural resources – by developing targets to reduce, in absolute terms, Europe’s resource use.”
A robust set of indicators for land, water, carbon and materials was supported in preference to the European Commission’s top level ‘resource productivity’ indicator, once again demonstrating that it lacks transparency and is not fit for purpose. There was no support for bans on landfilling of waste and on incineration of recyclable or compostable waste, nor to bring residual waste close to zero – a missed opportunity for a step-change in Europe’s waste polices. Both the Resource Efficiency Roadmap and the Parliament’s report emphasise the massive economic benefits that would come from being more resource efficient.
Ariadna Rodrigo continued: “In the current economic times, Europe should be proactively taking steps to improve the way we use resources and making the most of the economic, social and environmental benefits this brings. The European Commission – and national governments – need to stop delaying and start taking action.”
The social and environmental impacts of Europe’s overconsumption of resources are already being felt – increasing demand for agricultural land to produce feed for animals, or crops for agrofuels, is leading to the destruction of valuable habitats and to land being grabbed from local populations.
Friends of the Earth Europe is the largest grassroots environmental network in Europe, uniting 30 national organisations with thousands of local groups.
Friends of the Earth Europe