Written by Gregor Erbach
Towards a global climate agreement
It seems that attitudes to climate change are … changing! Storms and floods, droughts and wildfires – events like these affect people’s lives and received a lot of media coverage recently. As such phenomena are likely to increase in a warming world, governments are looking at sustainable and resilient solutions. More than 120 heads of state and government will gather in New York next Tuesday, 23 September, for a UN Climate Summit, dubbed the summit to “catalyse action”. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wants the summit to focus on new visions and bold ideas to tackle climate change. It is a crucial milestone on the road towards a new global climate agreement, to be concluded in Paris in December 2015.
Decisive action in all parts of the world is needed to limit global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius, as continually rising emissions from recently industrialised regions largely exceed the EU’s achievements in reducing emissions.
… and new EU climate and energy policies
You may (or may not) have heard of Europe’s “20-20-20″ targets, which focus on decarbonisation through the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the deployment of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency measures. In October 2014, European leaders are expected to decide on the EU’s post-2020 climate and energy policies proposed by the European Commission – a decision that will shape the EU’s position in the international negotiations. Thus there are many issues at stake, and initial reactions to the Commission proposal make for interesting reading in our briefing EU climate and energy policies post-2020. If this piques your interest, you can explore the topic further with our key source EU 2030 climate and energy framework.
A new international agreement, and developing a climate and energy policy that provides clean, secure and affordable energy while boosting growth and jobs – plenty of challenges for the new Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy and the new European Parliament!
… building on past achievements
The European Parliament has long been active on behalf of Europe’s citizens in the sphere of climate change. Looking back at the previous parliamentary term, the European Parliament has indeed left its mark on EU climate action:
- After tough negotiations, the EP and the Council agreed to reduce the CO2 emissions of new cars
- The EP regulated to reduce the use of climate-damaging F-gases in refrigeration equipment and other industrial uses
- Negotiations with Council to limit the use of agricultural land in the production of biofuels are ongoing
We will all need to adapt to the real impact of global warming, even if it can be limited to 2 degrees Celsius. Find out about the EU strategy to coordinate and support private and public adaptation efforts all across the EU.
Want to know even more?
- The relationships between climate change and air quality may surprise you.
- Our scientific foresight unit STOA has analysed how agriculture could feed 10 billion people while facing challenges from climate change.
- On 4 November 2014, the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will present the latest climate assessment in the European Parliament’s STOA workshop and answer all your questions. Save the date!