On July 11, 2022, the European Commission has proposed an amendment to the Regulation on European environmental accounts.
The proposed amendment adds three accounts (relating to ecosystems, forests and environmental subsidies) to the other six accounts currently existing under the Regulation.
For what concerns ecosystems, the proposal envisages that Member States would produce statistics on the size of ecosystems, on their “health” conditions and on the benefits they produce for businesses and citizens.
As an example, the latter can be data on e.g. carbon sequestration and storage, pollination, wood provision and nature-based tourism. These data could be used for a range of current and future applications, such as the measurement of the progress made by Member States towards the targets established in the Commission’s proposal of 22 June 2022 for a Nature Restoration Law, which is a key element of the EU Biodiversity Strategy and of delivering the European Green Deal. These new statistics give recognition to the benefits produced by nature, and they do so in coherence with macroeconomic statistics, such as GDP, which makes them suitable for combined indicators, ratios, shares, etc. This initiative is part of the EU implementation of the global statistical standard System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (“SEEA Ecosystem Accounting”), adopted by the United Nations in March 2021.
With this proposal, the European Union continues to show its commitment to the development and implementation of these environmental statistics, in which it is a global leader. In addition to the ecosystem accounts, the Commission is also proposing new European environmental economic-accounts on forests and on environmental subsidies. Forest accounts specifically measure forest area and its available share for timber extraction. These data can be used to monitor forest management and the wood industry. The environmental subsidies statistics regard support by Member States to promote a greener economy, protecting the environment and safeguarding natural resources. They identify and quantify domestic fiscal policy measures and non-EU resources that support the Green Deal. The Commission proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council will be available soon available online.