For the first time in over 20 years of UN negotiations, the EU aimed to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate at the COP21 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris.
Europe is a global leader on climate change. It is the first region with binding targets, and is on track to be the world leader in renewables.
It is possible to act. From 1990 to 2014, EU emissions declined 23% while GDP grew 46%.
Climate change threatens to disrupt livelihoods, destabilise societies, and disrupt development in its tracks. The greatest single impact of climate change could be on human migration with millions of people displaced by shoreline erosion, coastal flooding and agricultural disruption – a crisis in the making.
Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all aspects of the climate system.
Greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere will continue to increase unless the billions of tons of our annual emissions decrease substantially.
The time has come for global decisive actions – before average global temperatures move beyond a “tipping point” of no return. If we fail we are letting down young people across the world – in Africa, the US, in China, in Europe.
Acting against climate change is clearly a human and environmental imperative and also an economic opportunity for citizens, businesses and EU countries.
Important groundwork has already been done. Europe has a policy framework for climate and energy for 2030, as well as an energy security strategy. Meanwhile, an integrated energy market for all EU countries is closer than ever before.