Environmental indicator report 2012

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Environmental challenges are intrinsically linked with the way we live: we depend on our natural environment to supply the natural resources and ecosystem services that sustain our health and well-being, and ensure that our economies prosper. Many of the environmental problems that we face today have existed for decades; what has changed is our appreciation of their drivers and the impacts these may have on the planet as a whole.

Against a backdrop of unprecedented rates of change, interconnected and systemic risks, and increased vulnerabilities of environmental challenges, the need for a transformation to a green economy has emerged as a key environmental priority — both at the European and the global level.

The green economy is one in which environmental, economic and social policies and innovations enable society to use resources efficiently, thereby enhancing human well-being in an inclusive manner, while maintaining the natural systems that sustain us. At its core is the twin challenge of improving resource efficiency whilst ensuring a resilient structure and functioning of ecosystems that can deliver the many ecosystem services we rely on.

This report offers an indicator-based assessment that focuses on measuring progress towards meeting this twin challenge.

Part 1 of this report introduces in some detail key concepts used in the report, i.e. ecosystem resilience, resource efficiency and green economy.

Part 2 of this report presents six thematic assessments building on a selection of the over 200 environmental indicators the EEA maintains.

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