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Technical Report on Biodiversity in Europe: an integrated economic and environmental assessment



The economic assessment of priorities for a European environmental policy plan focuses on twelve identified Prominent European Environmental Problems such as climate change, chemical risks and biodiversity. The study, commissioned by the European Commission (DG Environment) to a European consortium led by RIVM, provides a basis for priority setting for European environmental policy planning in support of the sixth Environmental Action Programme as follow-up of the current fifth Environmental Action Plan called 'Towards Sustainability'. The analysis is based on an examination of the cost of avoided damage, environmental expenditures, risk assessment, public opinion, social incidence and sustainability. The study incorporates information on targets, scenario results, and policy options and measures including their costs and benefits. Main findings of the study are the following. Current trends show that if all existing policies are fully implemented and enforced, the European Union will be successful in reducing pressures on the environment. However, damage to human health and ecosystems can be substantially reduced with accelerated policies. The implementation costs of these additional policies will not exceed the environmental benefits and the impact on the economy is manageable. This requires future policies to focus on least-cost solutions and follow an integrated approach. Nevertheless, these policies will not be adequate for achieving all policy objectives. Remaining major problems are the excess load of nitrogen in the ecosystem, exceedance of air quality guidelines (especially particulate matter), noise nuisance and biodiversity loss. This report is one of a series supporting the main report: European Environmental Priorities: an Integrated Economic and Environmental Assessment. The areas discussed in the main report are fully documented in the various Technical reports. A background report is presented for each environmental issue giving an outline of the problem and its relationship to economic sectors and other issues; the benefits and the cost-benefit analysis; and the policy responses. Additional reports outline the benefits methodology, the EU enlargement issue and the macro-economic consequences of the scenarios. This report documents the Biodiversity issue.

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