Climate action

Climate action

Action on climate is a global imperative, as greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are warming the Earth and causing changes in the global climate. The Commission is at the forefront of international efforts to combat climate change.


Latest articles

This autumn has seen two dramatic wake-up calls from scientists about the future of our planet. The IPCC special report on 1.5˚C and WWF’s Living...


The Clean Mobility Package is the latest in a series of proposals aimed at reinforcing the European Union’s global leadership in sustainable transport. According to Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete, “The global race to develop clean cars is on”.


The Kigali Amendment to the United Nations’ Montreal Protocol, which aims to cut back the global use of harmful hydrofluorocarbon gases (HFCs), comes into force in January 2019. The EU has received a 2017 Ozone Award for its leading role in negotiating this...


The European institutions have decided to establish a new Innovation Fund for the period post-2020, to be financed through the EU's emissions trading system. Ahead of a public consultation, over 250 industry experts have given their views on how this fund could support innovative low-...


In the fight against climate change, everyone can contribute to the joint effort to reduce our carbon footprint. This spring, the European Commission has taken the message out to people in Brussels.


The European Union played a key role in brokering the world's first universal, legally binding climate deal in Paris in December 2015. Today, the EU is continuing to lead global efforts to deliver on the ambitious accord, the first major multilateral deal...


A new integrated EU policy for the Arctic has been adopted. It focuses on strengthening international cooperation, tackling climate change, enhancing environmental protection and promoting sustainable development in this region of enormous environmental and economic importance.



Six months after the Paris Climate Change Conference, cities and local governments worldwide have joined forces in an unprecedented initiative to lead global climate action.



In July, the Commission presented a package to speed up efforts to decarbonise all economic sectors, including land-use and forestry, plus a more comprehensive low-emission mobility strategy.


History was made in Paris in December 2015, when 195 countries united to adopt the first-ever global legally binding agreement to tackle climate change, with the European Union playing a pivotal role.


The European Commission has unveiled its proposal to revise the EU emissions trading system (ETS), to take effect from 2021. This will speed up the pace of emission reductions and help the EU meet its pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 % by 2030.


The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in December 2015 will decide how the world deals with the threat of climate change over the coming decades.


In March 2015, EU leaders approved European Commission proposals for an EU Energy Union with a forward-looking climate policy, to give households and businesses across Europe secure, sustainable and affordable energy.


Launched in 2005, the EU Emissions Trading System – the cornerstone of the EU’s strategy to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases – turns 10 this year. During 2015, the Commission will also put forward a proposal for a revision of the system to be applied in the next trading phase, which starts in...


To combat climate change, Europe must reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport. The sector currently produces almost a quarter of all EU emissions – but European policies are turning the tide.


More than 100 cities – from Albertslund in Denmark and Cork in Ireland, to Veria in Greece – have signed up to the European Commission’s ‘Mayors Adapt’ initiative on climate change adaptation.


EU Member States agreed in October to reduce their domestic greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 by at least 40 % compared to their 1990 emission levels. EU leaders also agreed to an EU-wide binding target for renewable energy – and an indicative one for energy efficiency – of at least 27 %.


In November, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published the Synthesis Report of its Fifth Assessment Report (AR5): the most comprehensive analysis of climate change ever undertaken, combining the work of hundreds of scientists around the world.


According to the 2014 New Climate Economy Report, the fight against climate change will create new opportunities to grow the economy. It is not a case of either emissions reduction or growth – they can be achieved side by side.


Nineteen ground-breaking clean energy projects are to be launched in 12 European countries, thanks to funding from an EU programme for low-carbon technologies.


The Commission has set out a strategy to curb fuel consumption and CO2 emissions from trucks, buses and coaches.


On 19 March, EU Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard launched Mayors Adapt, a new initiative inviting city leaders to commit to action in preparation for the challenges that the adverse impacts of climate change will bring to European cities.


Two authoritative new reports from the United Nations scientific panel on climate change show that international action to address impending global climate risks and challenges is more urgent than ever. Decisions taken now will influence the risks to human health, food security, water supply,...


A recent survey shows that the European public recognises that fighting climate change and using energy more efficiently can boost the economy and employment. Most people also agree that reducing fossil-fuel imports from outside the EU could bring economic benefits.


The European Commission has proposed European Union climate and energy targets for 2030 – the next milestone on the road to building a competitive low-carbon economy by the middle of this century. The targets are at the heart of a proposed policy framework for the decade 2020-2030 that aims to make...


Motor vehicles are one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gases. The EU has already agreed mandatory targets for reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from new vans and cars by 2020. Now, the Commission has put forward proposals setting out how these targets will be achieved.


The European Commission has presented draft legislation in a first step towards reducing greenhouse gases from maritime transport. Under the proposal, owners of all ships over 5 000 gross tons using EU ports would, from January 2018, have to monitor and report a vessel’s annual carbon dioxide (CO...


Civil aircraft flying in Europe’s regional airspace will be covered by the EU’s emissions trading system (ETS) from the beginning of January 2014 once the necessary legislation is approved in the coming months. The new arrangements will remain in place until 2020 when a worldwide emissions system is...


The latest report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes in unequivocal terms that climate change is happening and that greenhouse gas emissions from human activity are overwhelmingly the dominant cause. It warns that climate change is on course to reach...


The European Commission has presented a twin-track strategy to reform the Union’s emissions trading system (ETS). This addresses the growing surplus of allowances due to the economic crisis by proposing some short-term measures and triggering debate on longer-term structural changes.


The EU is already making good progress towards achieving the energy and climate targets it has set itself for 2020. The time has come to focus further ahead. The Commission has started the process by publishing a green paper to stimulate wide-ranging debate on the framework which should steer energy...


The Doha climate change conference last December accelerated the campaign against global warming into a new phase, setting out a clear timetable for more ambitious action. The European Commission is now heavily engaged in ensuring that the commitments made will be honoured in practice.


Adopted in 1987, the Montreal Protocol has stimulated major progress in protecting the world’s ozone layer over the past quarter of a century. Its mission is not yet accomplished, but its successes and the way it has achieved them could provide valuable lessons to address other global challenges such...


Biofuels can contribute significantly to the EU’s 2020 targets for renewable energy and reduced greenhouse gas emissions from road fuels. However, to have a positive impact on climate change, biofuels must be produced sustainably, with minimum competition with food and feed production. To achieve...


Adaptation and mitigation measures are being developed in the fight against climate change. Adaptation is still relatively new, but since it is a cross-cutting exercise and important policy developments are at stake, it feeds into other areas such as water policy and the Commission’s water Blueprint...


Every major area of European Union activity will be required to make its own specific contribution towards tackling climate change under multiannual budget proposals tabled by the European Commission. These provide a clear demonstration that the Union's climate action strategy will soon be entering a...


The European Union's pioneering emissions trading system broke new ground at the beginning of the year when it was extended to include all domestic and international flights that arrive at, or depart from, an EU airport.


In early March the European Commission adopted a roadmap for turning Europe into a low-carbon society by 2050. Why on earth look four decades ahead when we can barely see the end of the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, some may ask?