By Dr. Magdalena A K Muir, Advisory Board Member, Climate; and Climate Editor
Following the first Climate Diplomacy Day led by France, Germany and the United Kingdom on 9 September 2014, and in line with the EU’s Climate Diplomacy Action Plan for 2015, the EU and its member states have European Climate Diplomacy Day on 17 June 2015. The EU and its member states are organizing a series of events. Additionally, the EU Delegation to the United Nations (UN) is partnering with France, Germany and the Human Impacts Institute on the role of individuals in the fight against climate change with the announcement of the 2015 Creative Climate Awards Selection.
At the June G7 Summit, assembled leaders from the world’s top industrialized countries issued an urgent call for global action to curb climate change and deal with its inevitable impacts. G7 members included Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union. The G7 acknowledged that deep cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions would be required along with a de-carbonization of the economy over the course of the 21st century. Financial support from public and private sources is recognized as critical for coping with the mitigation of and adaptation to the impacts of climate change. All G7 members have announced or proposed post-2020 emission targets. The European Union led by having committed to cutting its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030 over 1990 levels. In their declaration, G7 leaders stressed their determination to adopt a legal instrument at the December Climate Change Conference in Paris to limit the rise in global average surface temperature to below 2°C .
The EU achieves climate mitigation through its Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), the world’s largest international trading system for greenhouse gases (GHG). The European Union has ambitious climate targets for 2020, and is on track to reach and exceed the GHG emissions goal of a 20 percent decrease over 1990 levels. For 2030, the EU’s climate and energy objectives include a 40 percent reduction in GHG emissions. The strategy aims to fully transform the EU into a competitive low-carbon economy through measures including GHG emissions reductions of 80 to 95 percent over 1990. Achieving this goal relies on long-term investment in new low-carbon technologies, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and smart grid infrastructure.
The European Commission adopted an European climate adaptation strategy in 2013. The strategy supports action by promoting greater coordination and information-sharing, and by ensuring that adaptation considerations are addressed in EU policies. The EU’s role can be essential when climate change impacts transcend borders of individual states – such as with river basins – and when impacts vary considerably across regions. The role of the EU is useful to ensure that disadvantaged regions and those most affected by climate change are capable of taking the necessary measures to adapt.