EU action on climate change

Preventing dangerous climate change is a strategic priority for the European Union. Europe is working hard to cut its greenhouse gas emissions substantially while encouraging other nations and regions to do likewise.

Reining in climate change carries a cost, but doing nothing would be far more expensive in the long run. Moreover, investing in green technologies that cut emissions will also boost the economy, create jobs and strengthen Europe’s competitiveness.

To prevent the most severe impacts of climate change, the international community has agreed that global warming should be kept below 2ºC compared to the temperature in pre-industrial times. That means a temperature increase of no more than around 1.2°C above today’s level.

To stay within this ceiling, the scientific evidence shows that the world must stop the growth in global greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 at the latest, reduce them by at least half of 1990 levels by the middle of this century and continue cutting them thereafter.

EU leaders have committed to transforming Europe into a highly energy-efficient, low carbon economy. The EU has set itself targets for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions progressively up to 2050 and is working successfully towards meeting them.

For 2020, the EU has committed to cutting its emissions to 20% below 1990 levels. This commitment is one of the headline targets of the Europe 2020 growth strategy and is being implemented through a package of binding legislation. The EU has offered to increase its emissions reduction to 30% by 2020 if other major emitting countries in the developed and developing worlds commit to undertake their fair share of a global emissions reduction effort.

For more information visit the EC’s Directorate-General for Climate Action (“DG CLIMA”) web site and see the presentation