This section serves as a list of brief and important updates related to green transition. Content is collected via open sources, cross-checked and subsequently re-shared here. All content is handpicked by the Green Transition Observatory Team.

1UK High Court ruling against government on green policies (9 May 2024)
The UK government's national action plan to tackle climate change has been struck down by the country's High Court. Following the decision by environmental groups to take legal action against the plan and the court's ruling, the energy ministry is being asked to draw up a new plan. The new plan must cover the country's commitments in international exhibitions regarding air pollutant emissions and must be issued within 12 months.

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2Financial support of $1 billion from the E.U. to Greece for renewable energy sources. (9 April 2024)
With the financial support of 1 billion euros, Greece is moving forward with the green transition by investing in renewable energy sources. With the release of the capital and the approval of the European Commission, Greece will proceed with the further integration of renewable energy sources into the electricity system. The projects that you are asking Greece to develop with these resources are the "Faethon Project," which includes 2 photovoltaic points with a total power of 504 MW, whose purpose is to produce more energy per day to be consumed in times of greater demand. The second project, "Seli," is a 309 MW photovoltaic plant with a lithium battery energy storage system to optimise generation and grid stability. The above projects financed by the European Union contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the European Green Deal and the "Fit for 55" package.

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3Recommendations to the UK Government from the University of Birmingham (29 March 2024)
The Sustainable Plastics Policy Committee of the University of Birmingham recommends a series of significant measures to the government of the United Kingdom to address the increasing plastic pollution. The UK faces a serious problem due to high greenhouse gas emissions from the production and processing of plastics. The proposed solution is transitioning to a circular economy for plastics, with proposals including the revaluation of plastic, tax system reforms, reduction of incineration and landfilling, regulation of bioplastics and composting, promotion of sustainable sourcing, and establishment of data infrastructure through research centers. Despite public concern, environmental policies do not fully reflect this concern, while a new policy approach is proposed that allows plastics to positively contribute to the economy without harming the environment. Finally, there is an opportunity for the United Kingdom to play a leadership role globally through policies that promote the circular economy of plastics, with positive impacts on both the economy and the environment.

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4Monash University research shows 1 million deaths from air pollution (11 March 2024)
Monash University research findings published in 'The Lancet Planetary Health' show the mortality of 1 million people every year due to air pollution. The distribution of deaths increases in urban centres, with Asia accounting for the largest proportion of deaths at 65.2%, Africa accounting for 12%, Europe 12.5%, the Americas 5.6%, and Oceania 0.1%. The research sample exceeded 13,000 cities from which PM2.5 particle pollution levels were examined

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5New rules and stricter penalties for environmental crimes have been introduced by the European Parliament. (1 March 2024)
Smuggling of timber, overexploitation of water resources, pollution from ships, and violations involving chemical products have been included as environmental crimes under new legislation. Penalties include up to 10 years of imprisonment and fines of up to 40 million euros for companies. In addition to the harsh penalties, the European Union requires member states to collect data on environmental offences and will assist national authorities in designing strategies for information and prevention.

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6Festivals: On the Green Path of Sustainability (13 February 2024)
Festivals are actively seeking more environmentally sustainable methods of operation due to their heavy reliance on electricity, particularly in remote areas where access to the national power grid is limited. Presently, many festivals utilize generators fueled by fossil fuels, which contribute to harmful carbon dioxide emissions. To address this issue, festivals are increasingly adopting greener energy alternatives such as solar power and battery storage. Measures such as the installation of wind turbines and solar panels are being implemented, and some festivals are prioritizing vegan and vegetarian food offerings to reduce their environmental footprint. For instance, the Shambala festival in the UK has transitioned from traditional diesel generators to sustainable energy sources and has promoted energy conservation among its attendees. Similarly, Mysteryland in the Netherlands has made substantial investments in solar energy and grid connections to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels.

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7Air Emissions beyond the limits of regulations from the largest cruise ship in the world (26 January 2024)
The Icon of the Seas, the world's largest cruise ship, has made its maiden voyage, raising concerns among environmentalists who have pointed to the risks of leaking environmentally damaging methane (a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide) into the atmosphere as the cruise ship moves with liquefied natural gas (LNG). Owned by the Royal Caribbean Group, is 365 meters (1,197 feet) long, has 20 decks and can accommodate up to 7,600 passengers. Director of the Marine Program at the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), Brian Comer, was quoted by the Reuters news agency as saying, "It's a step in the wrong direction," and went on to say, "We would estimate that the use of LNG as a marine fuel emits over 120% more life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions than marine gas oil." Finally, in its publication, the ICCT announced that the methane emission from ships powered by LNG exceeds the permissible limit set by the present regulations.

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8Climate change and the collective effort to deal with it (05 January 2024)
With the completion of 2023, another year was added in which an increase in the temperature of the planet was recorded. From the pre-industrial era until about 1900, average temperatures increased by 1 degree Celsius, and the carbon footprint was double the 1950 measurements. With the above increases, climate change is evident with the occurrence of extreme weather events, rising sea levels, extinctions of animal species, etc. Two hundred governments signed the Paris Agreement in 2015 in a joint effort to tackle the effects of climate change. By reviewing national plans every five years, the European Union is leading this effort. The ultimate goal is to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and eliminate greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere by 2050.

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9Agreement reached on 'Transition away from fossil fuels' at COP28 (14 December 2023)
After the approval of the Paris Agreement (COP21) of 2015, the next practical step of the UN takes place at the 28th Conference, COP28. The COP28 Summit met in Dubai with the participation of 200 countries, which, after two weeks of intense negotiations, agreed on the "transition away from fossil fuels." The decision comes to provide practical solutions to the measures that will cover the countries in zeroing out the emissions from carbon until 2050. For each country, specific plans will be drawn up to implement the goals according to their national capabilities. To reduce methane, the agreement calls for a tripling of RES on a global scale by 2030. climate change. Reaching agreement for the first time on the reference to moving the global economy away from fossil fuels is a united expression of the international community to tackle climate change. Island states that did not agree with the decision were countered.

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10 "COP28 Summit reaches critical juncture: Nations divided over fossil fuel phase-out in Cclimate deal" (11 December 2023)
As the COP28 climate talks approach a crucial phase, U.N. climate chief Simon Stiell urges nations to collaborate and finalize a deal, particularly addressing the contentious issue of calling for an end to fossil fuels. Stiell acknowledges progress in resolving disagreements but emphasizes the high stakes, warning that stepping back from ambitious goals could cost countless lives. The COP28 Presidency, held by the United Arab Emirates, is expected to release a new draft text for the potential final agreement. Two key debates persist: the ambition of nations in combating climate change and the financial and supportive commitments they are willing to make. Over 80 countries, including the U.S., the EU, and small island nations, advocate for a deal to "phase out" fossil fuels, facing opposition from notable actors like Saudi Arabia, a key player in the OPEC oil producers' group. Negotiators have until Tuesday to reach consensus on what could be the first global deal to phase out fossil fuels. U.N. Secretary General António Guterres renews his call for leaders to commit to a 1.5°C warming limit, end the fossil fuel age, and deliver climate justice. Saudi Arabia's delegation insists that the deal should focus on cutting emissions rather than singling out energy sources. This stance aligns with OPEC's letter opposing any language targeting fossil fuels directly, as fossil fuels still constitute around 80% of the world's energy despite the growth of renewable sources. Negotiators note resistance from other OPEC and OPEC+ members, including Russia, Iraq, and Iran, against including a fossil fuel phase-out in the COP28 deal. Singapore's environment minister Grace Fu acknowledges progress in some areas but emphasizes the need to address remaining gaps in finding solutions.

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11COP28: Navigating the climate crisis amidst global challenges and unprecedented urgency (1 December 2023)
COP28, short for the 28th Conference of the Parties under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), is the latest in a series of annual meetings where world governments discuss global responses to the climate crisis. Established in 1992, the UNFCCC obligates countries to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions equitably. COP meetings have seen both successes (such as the Paris Agreement in 2015) and failures (like Copenhagen in 2009). COP28, hosted by the United Arab Emirates in Dubai, commenced on November 30, with world leaders participating in the World Climate Action Summit on December 1-2. Despite the landmark Paris Agreement's legally binding commitment to limit global temperature rises, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), were insufficient to meet the outlined goals. COP26 in 2021 acknowledged the need to focus on the more challenging 1.5°C goal and urged countries to update their NDCs annually. However, geopolitical events, such as Russia's invasion of Ukraine, have altered the landscape, affecting energy prices and global efforts to combat climate change. COP27, held in Egypt, marked progress in addressing "loss and damage" from climate-driven extremes. Developed countries agreed to establish a fund for the most vulnerable nations affected by climate disasters. COP28 aims to translate this agreement into action. Notably, the UAE, a major oil-producing country, appointed the CEO of its national oil company as COP28 president, sparking controversy. The UK, the host of COP26, has faced criticism for policy reversals and a perceived lack of climate leadership. The urgency to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C is emphasized by recent record temperatures. However, current emissions trends and the need for substantial reductions pose significant challenges. COP28 discussions will revolve around NDC updates, climate finance allocation, and the imperative to address the climate crisis with a heightened sense of urgency and commitment.

12New UNEP report: Without immediate action, global warming will greatly surpass Paris objectives (22 November 2023)
A recent report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) indicates that the Earth is on a trajectory to experience a 3°C increase in temperature by the end of the century, which is twice the target set by the Paris Agreement. To counteract this alarming trend, the Emissions Gap Report 2023 emphasizes the critical need for governments and businesses to urgently reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 42% by 2030, aiming to limit global warming to 1.5°C. The report not only provides an assessment of current and projected global greenhouse gas emissions but also delves into energy transitions in low- and middle-income countries. Additionally, it examines the role of carbon dioxide removal strategies in addressing the climate crisis. While acknowledging progress since the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015, with a decrease in the projected 2030 emissions increase from 16% to 3%, the report stresses that further reductions of 28% and 42% are required for the 2°C and 1.5°C pathways, respectively. Implementing the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) outlined in the Paris Agreement, whether unconditional or conditional, would still result in a temperature rise of 2.9°C and 2.5°C above pre-industrial levels, respectively. The report urges all nations to expedite comprehensive, low-carbon development transformations. Recognizing the varying capacities and responsibilities of nations for emissions, it calls for more ambitious actions from those with greater capabilities, along with support for developing nations in pursuing low-emission development growth. The report also explores how enhanced implementation efforts can increase the likelihood of the upcoming 2025 Nationally Determined Contributions effectively reducing greenhouse gas emissions in 2035 to levels consistent with the 2°C and 1.5°C pathways. Additionally, it assesses the potential and risks associated with Carbon Dioxide Removal methods, including nature-based solutions and direct air carbon capture and storage.

13Global Coalition Grows: Over 60 countries back ambitious renewable energy and coal phase-out pledge (10 November 2023)
Officials familiar with the matter have revealed that over 60 countries are endorsing a proposal led by the European Union, United States, and United Arab Emirates to triple renewable energy production in the coming decade while transitioning away from coal. This initiative is being promoted in anticipation of the U.N.'s COP28 climate negotiations, scheduled from Nov. 30 to Dec. 12 in Dubai. The EU, U.S., and UAE are seeking global leader support for the pledge, with a push for its inclusion in the final outcome of a meeting on Dec. 2. Several nations, including Nigeria, South Africa, Vietnam, Australia, Japan, Canada, Peru, Chile, Zambia, and Barbados, have expressed their intent to join. The proposed commitment, outlined in a draft reviewed by Reuters, also involves doubling the annual rate of energy efficiency improvement to 4% until 2030. It emphasizes the necessity of concurrently reducing reliance on unabated coal power, including discontinuing the funding of new coal-fired plants. Negotiations with China and India to join the pledge are reportedly in advanced stages. Scientists stress that both expanding clean energy and swiftly reducing CO2-emitting fossil fuels are crucial to mitigating severe climate change. Officials believe early support for this initiative will generate momentum and foster a positive atmosphere for the potentially challenging discussions at the climate conference.

14Interwoven Perils: How Climate Change and Conflict Fuel Vulnerability in 14 Nations (24 October 2023)

Climate change and conflict are linked, with 14 countries currently experiencing armed violence, including Yemen, Afghanistan, Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. These countries struggle to adapt to climate change due to internal divisions or ongoing violence. Climate change can also inflame existing tensions over access to diminishing necessities, making them more vulnerable. The escalating violence in the Gaza Strip has made its population more vulnerable than ever. The ripple effects of conflict and climate change can trigger far-reaching devastation, especially in land issues and resources. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) found that the ripple effects of conflict and climate change can trigger far-reaching devastation, especially in the Sahel and Lake Chad regions. Instability in the region has led to cattle herders and farmers settling in areas with armed violence, competing with locals for space and resources. Authorities who typically help settle disputes have withdrawn from certain areas due to security concerns, leading to clashes. As a result, armed groups are increasingly weighing in on the violence.

Somalia, one of the world's most climate-vulnerable countries, has been facing decades of conflict and severe droughts, leading to over 3.8 million people being displaced. Land issues and disputes have exacerbated tensions, with land occupation prevalent in South-Central Somalia. Armaged conflict and climate change are the main drivers for food insecurity, with conflict having drastic spill-over effects, especially when countries involved are key producers or exporters of basic goods. Armaged conflict can also wreak havoc on a country's natural environment, with over 80% of conflicts taking place in biodiversity hotspots. Environmental degradation triggers a vicious cycle, contributing to climate change and reducing a population's capacity to adapt. Gaza, home to 2.2 million people, faces a dire lack of infrastructure and sanitation, rising temperatures, declining precipitation, rising sea levels, and more frequent extreme weather events. The Palestinian Territories are among the 25 regions most vulnerable to climate change, with no place to run from the situation.

Climate change adaptation requires a significant social, economic, and cultural overhaul, with countries ranked lowest being most vulnerable and least prepared to deal with stressors. Conflicts can lead to the destruction of essential services like water, school, and health centers, affecting the economy and social cohesion. The International Commission for Resilience (ICRC) highlights a gap in funding for climate action between stable and fragile countries, with many financially neglected due to conflict. Even stable countries like France and Switzerland struggle to adapt to a changing climate. The ICRC is working on strengthening Gaza's resilience and building resilience to both conflict and climate change shocks. The organization is working to ensure water points continue to function even if electricity production is affected.

15Nations Urge Accelerated Fossil Fuel Transition Ahead of Cop28 Climate Talks (16 October 2023)

Six weeks before the Cop28 climate talks, negotiators from Africa and India have presented separate plans to urge developed countries to take more significant steps in transitioning away from fossil fuels.

The African Group of negotiators is calling for rich nations to halt approval of new fossil fuel production projects by 2030. Meanwhile, India is advocating for these countries to not only achieve net-zero emissions but also actively remove carbon from the atmosphere by 2050.

These proposals align with the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" in UN climate talks, where wealthier nations, primarily responsible for climate change, should take the lead in addressing it. However, rich nations like the European Union are focusing on global objectives, such as tripling renewable energy capacity by 2030 and phasing out fossil fuels globally well before 2050.

Despite some restrictions on supporting fossil fuel projects abroad, major nations like the US, UK, Australia, and Norway continue to approve domestic oil and gas production without setting end dates. The African Group of Negotiators has called for "differentiated pathways," emphasizing a halt to fossil fuel exploration in developed countries well ahead of 2030, while giving developing nations the opportunity to close the global supply gap in the short term.

However, it's worth noting that a 2021 UN report contradicts claims of a fossil fuel supply gap, revealing that governments worldwide plan to produce more than double the amount of fossil fuels in 2030 than is compatible with limiting global warming to 1.5°C. Most of this increased production comes from developing nations like Saudi Arabia, Russia, and India. Denmark and Costa Rica have formed the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance, pledging to cease production of these fossil fuels. African climate campaigner Thuli Makama argues against approving new fossil fuel extraction projects in Africa or elsewhere, emphasizing that these projects hinder development in renewable energy and green economy sectors in the continent while primarily benefiting wealthy countries' companies.

The African Group also calls for wealthy nations to provide more financial support to developing countries for climate change mitigation, adaptation, and addressing loss and damage. They propose $200-400 billion annually for loss and damage and an additional $400 billion per year for climate change adaptation by 2030, in addition to emissions reduction funding.

India's submission to the UN stocktake suggests that developed nations should reach net-negative emissions by 2050, which aligns with the goal of achieving global net-zero emissions. This proposal is supported by experts who argue that developed countries have exhausted their carbon budget, and achieving 1.5°C targets should not fall on the developing world. Antonio Guterres, the head of the UN, had previously called for developed nations to reach net-zero by 2040, but his proposal received limited attention from both developed and developing countries.

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16Unveiling the Climate Debate: E-Fuels, Electric Vehicles, and Misinformation (13 October 2023)
In February, Daniel Caspary, the leader of Germany's governing party in the European Parliament, argued against a proposed Europe-wide ban on internal combustion vehicles by 2035, suggesting that it's essential to achieve climate targets but wrong to rely solely on one solution. He expressed confidence in the intelligence of engineers worldwide to develop innovative solutions in the future. As a climate journalist, it's crucial to understand not only the nature of climate misinformation but also its sources and motivations. While outright climate denial is becoming rarer, the more prevalent issue is "climate delay," which posits that addressing climate change can wait or is too costly. However, scientists have debunked these claims, making it challenging for journalists to combat them. Caspary's statement, while sounding reasonable, contradicts the clear evidence that focusing on e-fuels might only delay emissions reductions. E-fuel supplies are projected to be insufficient by 2035, and the emissions from e-fueled cars are significantly higher than electric vehicles. Germany and Austria, home to the traditional auto industry, have vested interests in promoting e-fuels. China has become a global leader in electric vehicle production, and their imports into Germany have surged. Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer also resists the shift to e-vehicles and has made skeptical comments about climate change. To comprehend the implications of this misinformation, journalists must investigate the details. Austria aims to be climate neutral by 2040, but there is no binding climate protection law to support this goal. Journalists need to scrutinize the environmental impact of proposed solutions, the interests behind them, and whether they genuinely contribute to climate action or merely serve as marketing or delay tactics for more meaningful policies.

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1760,000 Swiss protest against climate change (1 October 2023)
On September 30, 60,000 Swiss demonstrated in the Swiss capital, Bern, demanding more immediate government action to tackle the climate crisis. The Swiss are protesting just days before the upcoming elections, putting pressure on the government and candidates for more effective measures to protect the environment. Evidence of the seriousness of climate change is the melting of 10% of Switzerland's glaciers in two years. Even though the government has approved a draft law to reduce and eliminate gas emissions by 2050 with financial subsidies and the promotion of RES, it will not be implemented until 2025.

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18 France, England, and Germany question the EU's environmental policy (25 September 2023)
French President Emmanuel. Macron has decided to differentiate and question, like the British Prime Minister, the directions of the European Union on environmental policy. President Macron is talking about measures that will give incentives to the French towards the green transition, not a means of imposing them, with the ultimate goal of halving carbon emissions by 2030. The package of measures "planning écologique" will not burden them financially as citizens of France (with extrajudicial fines), adding 7 billion euros to the budget for energy efficiency of buildings, the development of energy technologies, and the development of forest areas. The imposition of direct sanctions on polluting companies is also cancelled; instead, grants will be made for energy development and pollution reduction (45%). In addition to the above measures, cancel the ban on oil or natural gas boilers until there is sufficient production of heat pumps in 2027, which will be subsidised by the French state.

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19Great Britain Pledges $1.6 Billion to the Green Climate Fund: A Crucial Step Towards a $5.9 Trillion Clean Air Goal by 2030 (20 September 2023)
Great Britain made a commitment to finance 1.6 billion dollars in the Green Climate Fund. The fund was created by member states of the United Nations with the aim of helping underdeveloped countries reach their environmental protection goals. The money from the fund will be invested in the reduction of atmospheric pollutants, renewable energy sources, and so on. With England's commitment, the G20 statement says around $5.9 trillion will be needed before 2030 to reduce air pollutants to the desired effect.

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20Draft UN plastics treaty threatens Big Oil’s plan B ( 08 September 2023)
The UN is in the planning phase of a new treaty that will limit the production of plastic materials. In the upcoming session, the states will meet in November for the third phase of the talks in Nairobi, where they will be called upon to decide on one of the pre-planned options. The options that one of these UN member states will be asked to decide are to commit to stopping the increase in plastic production with a maximum production limit that will be agreed upon, or another option is for the states to comply by taking the necessary measures to reduce production without any commitment to a specific target. In addition to polluting the planet, the production of plastics causes 3% of the air pollution. Air pollution is the reason that recycling does not solve the problem to the desired effect, as explained by the European Union. The reduction in plastic production will significantly affect the economies of major oil and gas producing countries such as the US and Saudi Arabia, which are blindsided.

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21Germany's ambitious greenhouse emission reduction goals at risk of missing targets (22 August 2023)
Germany's goal of reducing greenhouse emissions by 65% by 2030 appears likely to be missed, casting doubt on its longer-term net-zero target of 2045. Reports from government climate advisors and the Federal Environment Agency reveal these shortcomings. Despite being a climate leader in the EU and having more ambitious targets, political and economic factors in many countries have diverted attention from the climate crisis. Although Germany achieved a 40% reduction in CO2 levels from 1990 by last year, experts contend this is insufficient. The building and transport sectors are notably struggling to implement necessary measures, with the buildings sector projected to fall 35 million tonnes of CO2 short of its 2030 target, and the transport sector potentially exceeding emissions targets by 117-191 million tonnes. Another report from the Federal Environment Agency highlights that Germany's planned and existing climate policies won't allow it to achieve climate neutrality by 2045. The current policies would lead to emitting 229 million tonnes of greenhouse gases by 2045, undermining the country's climate goals. The government asserts that policies implemented since 2021 will address a significant portion of the excess CO2 emissions, and they will consider the advisors' recommendations to get back on track. The reports also point to policy changes diluting efforts, such as easing the phase-out of oil and gas heating systems, and insufficient focus on private vehicle transport. A non-profit group, Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH), advocates for an emergency climate program, especially for the struggling transport sector. They intend to take legal action to enforce a speed limit on German motorways and reduce environmentally harmful government subsidies.

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22Transforming Europe's Soil: Advancing Sustainability and Health through Historic Legislation (13 July 2023)
The European Union is making significant progress in supporting the sustainability of its soil. For the first time in the history of the European Union, legislation has been adopted on soil health. On 5 July 2023, the European Commission adopted a package of measures regarding the sustainability and health of its soils, aimed at increasing the resilience of Europe's food and farming systems. The proposed legislation offers a harmonised definition of soil health, but also a comprehensive framework for monitoring and promoting sustainable soil management and remediation of contaminated sites. According to the European
Commission, 60-70% of its soils remain unhealthy, while billions of tons of soil are washed away each year due to erosion, incurring estimated costs of more than 50 billion each year. The European Union has set itself the goal of having healthy soils by 2050, which will bring both environmental advantages and provide additional income opportunities in agriculture and land management.

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