Despite its ongoing economic woes and high unemployment, Europe has shown that it is serious about tackling climate change. They have demonstrated leadership on the level of individual nation states and in terms the EU as a whole.
According to the Climate Change Performance Index, the top ten climate change fighting nations are European and eight of those ten countries are part of the European Union. The rankings are based on countries greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, emissions-reduction efforts, energy efficiency, renewable energy portfolios, and policies aimed at slowing climate change.
Europe is putting their money where their mouth is. The European Parliament has adopted a seven-year budget that includes an unprecedented $243 billion for climate projects which will be invested both in Europe and go towards aid for developing countries.
The European Union also has a comprehensive energy and climate plan. The plan has three primary objectives:
1. to slash its greenhouses gases emissions by 20 percent from 1990 to 2020
2. to increase its energy efficiency by 20 percent
3. to increase its share of renewable energy sources to 20 percent of the mix by 2020.
The European Environment Agency, indicates that the European Union is already close to its 2020 climate objectives as it has decreased its emissions by no less than 18 percent between 1990 and 2012. European emissions have fallen by almost one percent in 2012 alone. Over the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (2008 to 2012) the first 15 EU members saw their emissions decrease by 12.2 percent, compared to a Kyoto objective of 8 percent.
Europe is also heavily invested in renewable sources of energy which as of 2011 already accounted for 13 percent of their energy mix.
© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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