Renewable or non-renewable resources
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Natural resources form the backbone of each economy. Their use and transformation create capital stocks that add to the wealth of present and future generations. However, some resources are non-renewable, such as groundwater or minerals. The use of fossil fuels has serious impacts on problems of Global Change, especially Climate Change. Waste volumes are predicted to continue rising unless remedial action is taken. Waste prevention will be a key element to the sustainable use of natural resources. Further measures are needed to encourage recycling and recovery of wastes, which will add to resource efficiency.
But as the first and most urgent step, environmental flows of production and consumption need to be cleared from harmful and dangerous substances by means of substitution. The second stept towards a more sustainable future will then be the issue of reduced use and consumption and an increased use of renewable resources. But also for renewable resources, a sustainable use has to be ensured. A key principle of sustainability is to limit the use of renewable resources to the extent of their regeneration rate and to respect the carrying capacity of eco-systems.
In the Sixth Environment Action Programme "Environment 2010: Our future, Our choice" the objective "Sustainable use of natural resources and management of wastes" is one of the four main focus areas: Consumption of renewable and non-renewable resources shall not exceed the carrying capacity of the environment and a de-coupling of resource use from economic growth shall be achieved through significantly improved resource efficiency, dematerialisation of the economy, and waste prevention.The EU aims to derive 12% of gross energy consumption from renewable fuels by 2010, according to the 2001 Directive on Renewables. It has adopted a wide range of policy measures to regulate the use of renewable and non-renewable resources, including detailed regulation and policy programmes on Climate Change and Energy Policy, Waste management, Integrated Product Policy and so on.
According to the Impact Assessment Guidelines of the European Commission, the following key questions are of particular importance when examining the impacts of policy initiatives on renewable or non-renewable resources:
- Evaluating impact on the use on renewable resources
- Evaluating impact on option's affect on renewable resources
- The European Commission's site on the 'Thematic strategy on the sustainable use of natural resources'
- The European Commission's site on 'The Second European Climate Change Program (ECCP II)'
- IA TOOLS
- JRC: IA TOOLS. Supporting inpact assessment in the European Commission. 
This text is for information only and is not designed to interpret or replace any reference documents.