Even though there has been progress made in resource efficiency, the implementation of a circular economy and a reduction in Greenhouse Gas emissions, there are still severe problems in regards to biodiversity loss, resource use, environmental risks to health and wellness and the overall impacts of climate change. The outlook to 2030 predicts that the state of marine ecosystems and biodiversity, urbanization and land use by agriculture and forestry, soil condition, chemical pollution and impacts on ecosystems as well as climate change and impacts on ecosystems all have deteriorating trends.

The 2020 report discusses the increasingly large gap between the current state of the environment and the target goals the European Union has set. The current sustainability issues European Union Member States face are undoubtedly derived from economic activities and  lifestyles including providing food, mobility and energy to the public. The European Union has the capacity to play a pivotal role for changes to be made globally, yet it continues to use more resources and add to more environmental degradation than many other regions in the world, thus contributing to the worsening of environmental conditions. In order to meet the 2050 targets the European Union is aiming for, including, but not limited to, net-zero greenhouse gas emissions  and becoming climate-neutral, there needs to be more ambitious actions taken. This would include current established policy needing to be strengthened and more innovative approaches to governance . 

Furthermore, in order to meet the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Austria, there needs to be an increase of funding, capacity building, engagement of citizens and corporations and a stronger knowledge base. In 2017 Austria, along with four other EU member states, exceeded their emission output limit of Ammonia. That same year, Austria’s Particulate Matter concentration was above the WHO Air Quality Guideline and the Greenhouse Gas emissions per capita was 9.6 tCO compared to the 8.8 tCO EU average. Without developing a more rigorous, systemic and long-term framework, implementing the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs – especially Goal Thirteen concerning climate change – will not be possible considering the current rate of progress in Austria.


The European environment — state and outlook 2020, Knowledge for transition to a sustainable Europe