European consumption still highly unsustainable, despite efficiency gains
Illustration photo: Coulorbox.com
Just three areas are estimated to be responsible for approximately three quarters of the environmental impacts from household consumption. These areas are eating and drinking; housing and infrastructure; and mobility, contributing 74 % of greenhouse gas emissions, 74 % of acidifying emissions, 72 % of tropospheric ozone precursor emissions and 70 % of the direct and indirect material input caused globally by private consumption in 2007 in the EU-27 Member States.
There are some positive trends –environmental impacts from European consumption are falling for three of the four environmental issues studied in the report. However, current levels of environmental damage are still unsustainable, and material resource use is still growing.
“We can foresee multiple, converging environmental crises caused by our unsustainable consumption,” EEA Executive Director Jacqueline McGlade said. “Changing this will be very difficult – environmentally harmful patterns of consumption are deeply ingrained in our society - economically, politically, socially and technically. But it is not impossible. We need policies that make sustainable choices easy, affordable and attractive, business models that drive forward sustainable consumption patterns, and people to make the sustainable choices.”
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