Climate change is one of the existential threats to Europe and the world. It can be adressed by mitigation measures helping to reduce and curb greenhouse gas emissions or adaptation measures focusing on reduction of vulnerability to the effects of climate change. Cities are key places to combat climate change.
The EU vision for 2050 consists in achieving climate neutrality, i.e. in reducing greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible whilst compensating for any remaining emissions, e.g. by way of planting additional woods. Thus, this target of a net-zero emissions balance will be achieved when the amount of greenhouse gas released into the atmosphere is neutralised.
At the end of 2020, the EU also approved a mid-term reduction target for greenhouse gas emissions at a scale of at least 55% below the 1990 levels by 2030. This is a substantial increase compared to the previous reduction target of 40%
The EU is fighting climate change through ambitious policies at home and close cooperation with international partners as the drivers of climate change and biodiversity loss are of global nature and are not limited by national borders. Therefore, the European Green Deal is an integral part of this Commission’s strategy to implement the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
European climate challenges
The European Green Deal presents an initial roadmap of the key policies and measures needed to achieve the EU climate targets. This also includes investments in cutting-edge research and Innovation through programmes, such as Horizon Europe.
The European Green Deal envisages the adoption of the following actions out of which many have been already adopted:
- The European Climate Law, which will enshrine the goal of climate neutrality by 2050 (the proposal is ready and the legislative process for its adoption in the EU institutions is under way, see the Documents section) – sets the goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2050 by EU law as well as EU obligations to achieve it.
- Roadmap for achieving the 2050 climate target (adopted on 17.09.2020, see Documents section) – consists in further reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% compared to 1990 levels.
- European Climate Pact (adopted on 9.12.2020, see Documents section) – its purpose is to involve citizens and all sections of society in climate action.
- Revisions of relevant legislative measures (especially in the context of the new interim climate target for 2030) to deliver on the increased climate ambition, following the review of Emissions Trading System Directive; Effort Sharing Regulation; Land use, land use change and forestry Regulation; Energy Efficiency Directive; Renewable Energy Directive; CO2 emissions performance standards for cars and vans (to be adopted in June 2021).
- Proposal for a revision of the Energy Taxation Directive (to be adopted in 2021).
- Mechanism of compensatory measures between states in the context of carbon (to be adopted in 2021).
- New EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change (to be adopted at the beginning of 2021) – the aim is to step up efforts to increase resilience to climate change, ensure prevention and preparedness, while the EC wants to ensure that businesses, cities and the public are able to take climate change into account in risk management.
These policy reforms are to help ensure effective carbon pricing throughout the economy. This should encourage changes in consumer and business behaviour, and facilitate an increase in sustainable public and private investment. The different pricing instruments are to complement each other and jointly provide a coherent policy framework. Ensuring that taxation is aligned with climate objectives is also essential from the EU perspective.
The EU also recognises that the global climate and environmental challenges are a significant threat multiplier and a source of instability. The ecological transition will reshape geopolitics, including global economic, trade and security interests. This will create challenges for a number of states and societies.
The EU wants to work with all partners to increase climate and environmental resilience to prevent these challenges from becoming sources of conflict, food insecurity, population displacement and forced migration, and support a just transition globally.
Climate policy implications should become an integral part of the EU’s thinking and action on external issues, including in the context of the Common Security and Defence Policy. That is why the EU wants to continue international negotiations to increase the ambitions of major emitters ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26) in November 2021.
In the Czech Republic focus on climate change
The aim of this broad and interdisciplinary project was to create an open and continuously updated online database summarizing information on the impacts of climate change, risks, vulnerabilities and adaptation measures for the whole Czech Republic based on the best available methods and in cooperation with expert teams.
Support from EU
European Environment Agency provides sound, independent information on the environment for those involved in developing, adopting, implementing and evaluating environmental policy, and also the general public
Support in the world
A broad range of organisations and co-operative programs are active on different levels in the domain of climate change adaptation. This page lists organisations that operate on the global, European (both EU and non-EU) and transnational levels.
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