The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has released its 'Environment at a Glance 2015,' which updates environmental, socio-economic and sectoral indicators for OECD countries.
The publication, which provides an overview of OECD country progress on major environmental issues, is intended to inform policy development and evaluation.
26 October 2015: The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has released its ‘Environment at a Glance 2015,’ which updates environmental, socio-economic and sectoral indicators for OECD countries. The publication, which provides an overview of OECD country progress on major environmental issues, is intended to inform policy development and evaluation.
In some of its key findings, OECD reports that freshwater resources are under medium to high stress in a third of countries, with many coping with local and seasonal shortages, a problem which is expected to be exacerbated by climate change.
On waste, the report finds that the average person in the covered area generates 520 kilograms (kg) of waste per year. This number has dropped since 2000 (550 kg), but is still 20 kg higher than in 1990, according to the report.
On air pollution, the indicators hold implications for the climate and human health. The report states that while greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have been declining between 2000 and 2012 in most OECD countries, they still “emit far more carbon dioxide (CO2) per capita than most other world regions, with 9.6 tonnes per person compared with 3.4 tonnes per person in the rest of the world.” In addition, more than 90% of the population in half of OECD countries is still exposed to dangerous fine particulates.
The report also cites increasing threats to biodiversity, noting that, over the course of 40 years, farmland and forest birds have declined 30% in Europe and North America.
In addition, the 2015 edition of the report includes indicators on environmental taxes, official development assistance (ODA) and research and development (R&D) funding. The report has found that support to R&D and innovation is growing, as is ODA for environmental purposes.
On environmental taxes, the findings indicate that tax reform could help hasten the transition to a low-carbon economy. While the use of environment-related taxes is growing, the report cites variations in tax rates, uneven price signals, low tax rates for fuels with high environmental impacts and exemptions for fuels in some sectors as inhibiting progress. [Publication: Environment at a Glance 2015: OECD Indicators] [Environment at a Glance 2015: Key Findings]