The European Union (EU) is now made up of 27 countries, with a population of just under 500 million people (see ‘What is the EU‘ on this site for more details). The EU is rich by global standards, and includes the countries that started the industrial revolution.
In the last few decades, the EU has become one of the leading environmental regulators in the world, agreeing regulations to control factory pollution, chemicals in toys and protection of biodiversity, to name just a few.
The world is facing massive environmental challenges, not least climate change. What can the EU – and its environmental policies – do to help move us towards a sustainable future? The EU has the power to do a huge amount – but does it have the political will?
About the author
Since July 2014 I have been the Executive Director of CHEM Trust, which works to protect humans and wildlife from harmful chemicals. These days I blog mainly on the CHEM Trust site, though I occasionally manage to do something on this site!
Up until July 2014 I worked for Friends of the Earth in London, as the senior campaigner heading up the Economics & Resource Use programme, where I had been working as senior campaigner since 2005. I also headed up Friends of the Earth Europe’s Resources and Consumption Programme.
At Friends of the Earth I particularly focussed on the problem of how Europe could measure – and then reduce – its resource use. I led the development and advocacy of the “Four Footprints” approach to resource use measurement – use carbon footprint, water footprint, land footprint and material footprint – see this two pager for more info.
Previous to this I focussed on chemicals policy, with a particular focus on the EU’s new REACH chemicals regulation (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals), initially at Friends of the Earth in London, and then from 2002 at WWF’s European Policy Office in Brussels. During 2005 I spent 9 months working on US chemicals policy at the Lowell Centre for Sustainable Production in Massachusetts, USA.
I have a Degree in Biochemistry from the University of York, UK, a PhD (in the breakdown of chemicals by bacteria) from the University of Glasgow, UK, and an MSc in Environmental Chemistry from the University of Edinburgh, UK.