Climate change in the European Union

Climate change in the European Union is part of climate change in Europe and includes: the impact of the European Union on climate change, the impacts of climate change on the European Union and the efforts of the European Union to stop climate change.

Greenhouse gases emissions

Greenhouse gas inventory

A 2016 European Environment Agency (EEA) report documents greenhouse gas emissions between 1990 and 2014 for the EU-28 individual member states by IPCC sector.[1][2] Total greenhouse gas emissions fell by 24% between 1990 and 2014, but road transport emissions rose by 17%. Cars, vans, and trucks had the largest absolute increase in CO
emissions of any sector over the last 25 years, growing by 124Mt. Aviation also grew by 93Mt over the same period, a massive 82% increase.


From 2012 to 2018 in the EU coal fell by around 50TWh, compared to a rise of 30TWh in wind power and solar energy generation and a rise of 30TWh in gas generation. The remaining 10TWh covered a small structural increase in electricity consumption. In 2019 coal generation will be about 12% of the EU's 2019 greenhouse gas emissions.[3][4]


Trifluoromethane (HFC-23) is generated and emitted as a byproduct during the production of chlorodifluoromethane (HCFC-22). HCFC-22 is used both in emissive applications (primarily air conditioning and refrigeration) and as a feedstock for production of synthetic polymers. Because HCFC-22 depletes stratospheric ozone, its production for non-feedstock uses is scheduled to be phased out under the Montreal Protocol. However, feedstock production is permitted to continue indefinitely.

In the developed world, HFC-23 emissions decreased between 1990 and 2000 due to process optimization and thermal destruction, although there were increased emissions in the intervening years.

The United States (U.S.) and the European Union drove these trends in the developed world. Although emissions increased in the EU between 1990 and 1995 due to increased production of HCFC-22, a combination of process optimization and thermal oxidation led to a sharp decline in EU emissions after 1995, resulting in a net decrease in emissions of 67 percent for this region between 1990 and 2000.


The decline in methane emissions from 1990 to 1995 in the OECD is largely due to non-climate regulatory programs and the collection and flaring or use of landfill methane. In many OECD countries, landfill methane emissions are not expected to grow, despite continued or even increased waste generation, because of non-climate change related regulations that result in mitigation of air emissions, collection of gas, or closure of facilities. A major driver in the OECD is the European Union Landfill Directive, which limits the amount of organic matter that can enter solid waste facilities. Although organic matter is expected to decrease rapidly in the EU, emissions occur as a result of total waste in place. Emissions will have a gradual decline over time.


Increase of average yearly temperature in selected cities in Europe (1900-2017)[5]

Climate change affects both people and the environment in the world as well as in Europe. Human-induced climate change has the potential to alter the prevalence and severity of extreme weather like storms, floods, droughts, heat waves and cold waves. These extreme weather changes may increase the severity of diseases in animals as well as humans. The heat waves will increase the number of forest fires. Experts have warned that the climate change may increase the number of global climate refugees from 150 million in 2008 to 800 million in future. International agreement of refugees does not recognize the climate change refugees.

The summer of 2003 was probably the hottest in Europe since at latest ad 1500, and unusually large numbers of heat-related deaths were reported in France, Germany and Italy. According to Nature (journal) it is very likely that the heat wave was human induced by greenhouse gases.[6]

According to European Environment Agency (2012) the average temperature over land in Europe in the last decade was 1.3 °C warmer than the pre-industrial level, which makes it the warmest decade on record. Exceptional melting in the Greenland ice sheet was recorded in the summer of 2012. Arctic sea ice extent and volume have been decreasing much faster than projected.[7]

A study of future changes in flood, heat-waves, and drought impacts for 571 European cities, using climate model runs from the coupled model intercomparison project Phase 5 (CMIP5) found that heat-wave days increase across all cities, but especially in southern Europe, whilst the greatest heatwave temperature increases are expected in central European cities. For the low impact scenario drought conditions intensify in southern European cities while river flooding worsens in northern European cities. However, the high impact scenario projects that most European cities will see increases in both drought and river flood risks. Over 100 cities are particularly vulnerable to two or more climate impacts.[8]


The mitigation of anthropogenic climate change in the European Union is being addressed through a number of measures. The climate commitments of the European Union are divided into 3 main categories: targets for the year 2020, 2030 and 2050. The European Union claim that his policies are in line with the goal of the Paris Agreement.[9][10] In September 2020, the environmental committee of the European Parliament voted for a target of 60% reductions in GHG emissions by the year 2030.[11]

Targets for the year 2020:[12]

  • Reduce GHG emissions by 20% from the level in 1990.
  • Produce 20% of energy from renewable sources.
  • Increase Energy Efficiency by 20%.

Targets for the year 2030:[13]

  • Reduce GHG emission by 55% from the level in 1990.[14]
  • Produce 32% of energy from renewables.
  • Increase energy efficiency by 32.5%.

Targets for the year 2050:[15]

  • Became climate neutral.


The European Union claims that he has already achieved the 2020 target for emission reduction and have the legislation needed to achieve the 2030 targets. Already in 2018, its GHG emissions were 23% lower that in 1990.[16]

Emissions trading

By Sector

Eradicating greenhouse gases from power stations and cars, trucks and aviation must be Europe's next policy move to tackle climate change, the former European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has said.[17][unbalanced? ]



In 2019, Italy became the first country in the world to introduce mandatory lessons about sustainability and climate change. The lessons will be taught in all schools, in the ages 6 –19, one hour each week.[18]

Climate change by country

In 2019 Denmark passed a law in which its pledge to reduce GHG emissions by 70% by 2030 from the level in 1990. It also pledged to achieve zero emissions by 2050. The law includes strong monitoring system and setting intermediate targets every 5 years. It includes a pledge to help climate action in other countries and consider climate impacts in diplomatic and economic relations with other countries.[19]

See also


  1. ^ Annual European Union greenhouse gas inventory 1990–2014 and inventory report 2016: submission to the UNFCCC Secretariat — EEA Report No 15/2016. Copenhagen, Denmark: European Energy Agency (EEA). 17 June 2016. Retrieved 2016-06-21.
  2. ^ "EU greenhouse gas emissions at lowest level since 1990". 21 June 2016. Retrieved 2016-06-21.
  3. ^ Europe's Great Coal Collapse of 2019 Sandbag UK 18.9.2019
  4. ^ EU på väg att lämna kolkraften – Allt mer vindkraft och solenergi i stället Vasabladet 18.9.2019
  5. ^ Kayser-Bril, Nicolas (24 September 2018). "Europe is getting warmer, and it's not looking like it's going to cool down anytime soon". EDJNet. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  6. ^ Stott, Peter A.; Stone, D. A.; Allen, M. R. (2004). "Human contribution to the European heatwave of 2003". Nature. 432 (7017): 610–614. Bibcode:2004Natur.432..610S. doi:10.1038/nature03089. PMID 15577907.
  7. ^ Climate change, impacts and vulnerability in Europe 2012 EEA 2012
  8. ^ Guerreiro, Selma B.; Dawson, Richard J.; Kilsby, Chris; Lewis, Elizabeth; Ford, Alistair (2018). "Future heat-waves, droughts and floods in 571 European cities". Environmental Research Letters. 13 (3): 034009. Bibcode:2018ERL....13c4009G. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/aaaad3. ISSN 1748-9326.
  9. ^ "2050 long-term strategy". European Commission. Retrieved 21 November 2019.
  10. ^ "Paris Agreement". European Commission. Retrieved 21 November 2019.
  11. ^ Abnett, Kate (9 September 2020). "EU Parliament's environment committee votes to support 60% EU emissions cut by 2030". Reuters. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  12. ^ "2020 climate & energy package". European Commission. Retrieved 21 November 2019.
  13. ^ "2030 climate & energy framework". European Commission. Retrieved 21 November 2019.
  14. ^ "State of the Union: Commission raises climate ambition and proposes 55% cut in emissions by 2030". European Commission website. European Union. Retrieved 29 September 2020.
  15. ^ "2050 long-term strategy". European Commission. Retrieved 21 November 2019.
  16. ^ "Progress made in cutting emissions". European Commission. Retrieved 21 November 2019.
  17. ^ Foundation, Planet Ark Environmental. "Planet Ark Stories and Ideas". Planet Ark. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  18. ^ Squires, Nick (5 November 2019). "Italy to become first country to make studying climate change compulsory in schools". The Telegrafh. Retrieved 13 November 2019.
  19. ^ Timperley, Jocelyn (6 December 2019). "Denmark adopts climate law to cut emissions 70% by 2030". Climate Home News. Retrieved 8 December 2019.

External links

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