The European Commission, DG XII, has produced a booklet on "The environment - At the heart of European R&D", outlining the Community's policy on the environment and its environmental research programmes. The focus of the booklet is on basic research and technological development. The programmes covered include STEP (Science and technology for environmental protection), EPOCH (European programme on climatology and natural hazards) and the ENVIRONMENT programme (RTD in the field of the environment). In addition, Community RTD programmes with an environmental content are included (e.g. Biotechnology, BRITE/EURAM, Nuclear fission safety, JOULE, MAST, SAST and TELEMAN), as well as RTD programmes funded by the Joint Research Centre. The booklet provides an outline of the RTD actions carried out by the EU in relation to a whole series of environmental problems (climatology, "clean" technologies of production, remote sensing, marine sciences and technologies, natural disasters, industrial risk, etc.). In addition, the booklet presents a number of projects, developed under the Community's environmental programmes, that deal with the main challenges faced by environmental protection: the greenhouse effect, deterioration of the ozone layer, desertification, management of water resources, energy supply, transport, etc.