Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

  • European Commission
  • CORDIS
  • Publications
  • Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social [...] Thematic Strategy on the sustainable use of natural resources, COM(2005) 670 final
FP6

Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social [...] Thematic Strategy on the sustainable use of natural resources, COM(2005) 670 final

Funded under: FP6-SUSTDEV

Abstract

European economies depend on natural resources, including raw materials such as minerals, biomass and biological resources; environmental media such as air, water and soil; flow resources such as wind, geothermal, tidal and solar energy; and space (land area). Whether the resources are used to make products or as sinks that absorb emissions (soil, air and water), they are crucial to the functioning of the economy and to our quality of life. The way in which both renewable and non-renewable resources are used and the speed at which renewable resources are being exploited are rapidly eroding the planet�s capacity to regenerate the resources and environment services on which our prosperity and growth is based. As the recent Millennium Ecosystem Assessment report states, over the past 50 years, humans have changed ecosystems more rapidly and extensively than in any comparable period of time in human history, largely to meet rapidly growing demands for food, fresh water, timber, fibre, and fuel.
If current patterns of resource use are maintained in Europe, environmental degradation and depletion of natural resources will continue. The issue has also a global dimension. The EU is highly dependent on resources coming from outside Europe and the environmental impact of resource use by the EU and other major economies is felt globally. At the same time the growing economies of the developing world such as China, India and Brazil are using natural resources at an accelerating pace. If the world as a whole followed traditional patterns of consumption, it is estimated that global resource use would quadruple within 20 years. The negative impact on the environment would be substantial. The alternative can be to adopt a coordinated approach, anticipating the need to shift to more sustainable use patterns, which can result in environmental and economic benefits in Europe and globally.

Download application/pdf (235506)

Record Number: 7261 / Last updated on: 2006-03-21
Category: COM DOCUMENT