Invasive species pose increasing threat to EU
- Agriculture ,
- Ecosystems ,
- Biodiversity ,
- Natural resources
The number of new invasive alien species entering Europe is on the rise, but policymakers are failing to take action, says the European Environment Agency (EEA)
The EEA has called on European governments to take a coordinated approach to tackling invasive species, arguing that several currently threatening biodiversity and ecosystems in the region could have been controlled if measures had been taken when they were first spotted.
“Several invasions of species now threatening the region's biodiversity, health and economy might have been stopped if rapid action had been appropriately undertaken,” says the agency in its latest report detailing the impact of 28 invasive alien species on the bloc.
Of the more than 10,000 alien species currently present in Europe, at least 15% are known to have a negative impact on the environment or the economy, the agency reports. They are estimated to cost Europe €12 billion a year through damage to crops and infrastructure, as well as hampering natural processes such as pollination. A quarter of critically endangered European native species are in danger because of invasive alien species, claims the EEA.
Increasing levels of international travel and trade, and changing climates are likely to result in rising numbers of invasive species in future, and mean that native species are less able to fend off the invaders, confirms the report.
“In many areas, ecosystems are weakened by pollution, climate change and fragmentation. Alien species invasions are a growing pressure on the natural world, which are extremely difficult to reverse,” commented EEA executive director Jacqueline McGlade.
The agency warns of the “current level of inaction in many European countries” and recommends the creation of a bloc-wide strategy to deal with invasive species and a system that will ensure rapid action is taken to control new species when they are detected.
“The development of a comprehensive and effective European strategy on invasive alien species, including an early warning and rapid response system, supported by a sound legislative framework at both the regional and local levels would certainly help,” concludes the report.
The alien species examined in the EEA’s report include the red swamp crayfish, which carries a disease often fatal to European crayfish; the yellow-legged hornet, which prays on honeybees; and the American Bullfrog, which colonises habitats forcing out native species.
The EEA report details the spread of alien species, their impacts and the measures needed to control them. It also includes the costs of eradication, for example, ridding seven ponds of American Bullfrogs in the UK cost £100,000.
Demand for fossil fuels will peak by 2025 if all national net-zero pledges are implemented in full and on time, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has forecast.
The Green Homes Grant is set to deliver only a fraction of the jobs and improvements intended, leading to calls for more involvement from local authorities in future schemes.
COVID-19 recovery packages have largely focused on protecting, rather than transforming, existing industries, and have been a “lost opportunity” for speeding up the global energy transition.
Half of the world's 40 largest listed oil and gas companies will have to slash their production by at least 50% by the 2030s to align with the goals of the Paris Agreement, new analysis has found.
None of England’s water and sewerage companies achieved all environmental expectations for the period 2015 to 2020, the Environment Agency has revealed. These targets included the reduction of total pollution incidents by at least one-third compared with 2012, and for incident self-reporting to be at least 75%.
The UK’s pipeline for renewable energy projects could mitigate 90% of job losses caused by COVID-19 and help deliver the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda. That is according to a recent report from consultancy EY-Parthenon, which outlines how the UK’s £108bn “visible pipeline” of investible renewable energy projects could create 625,000 jobs.
Billions of people worldwide have been unable to access safe drinking water and sanitation in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a progress report from the World Health Organisation focusing on the UN’s sixth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6) – to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030”.