EU Climate action

Preventing dangerous climate change

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.

Targets up to 2050

Carbon footprintEU 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.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, the 15 countries that were EU members before 2004 (‘EU-15’) committed to reducing their collective emissions to 8% below 1990 levels by the years 2008-2012. The latest emissions monitoring and projections show that the EU-15 is on track to over-achieve this target. Most Member States that have joined the EU since 2004 also have Kyoto reduction targets of 6% or 8% (5% in Croatia’s case) which they are also on course to achieve.

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.

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