Climate and Environmental Emergency Declared for Europe

The European Parliament declared a global climate and environmental emergency in November 2019 after scientists announced that we may have already reached the threshold for irreversible planetary tipping points. This move has urged EU countries to commit to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The president of the European Commission stated that Europe will now lead the fight against the existential threat of the climate crisis. This declaration however will not be effective if it is treated as a symbolic gesture, MEPs across the political spectrum warned. A separate votewas backed by MEPs which asserted that current EU targets are not in line with our Paris commitments. Tougher targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions have been backed by MEPs to increase the current 2030 target of 40% emission reduction up to 55%, a decision which was agreed in December 2020.


To prevent the most severe impacts of climate change, the international community has agreed that global warming should be kept below 2ēC compared to the temperature in pre-industrial times. That means a temperature increase of no more than 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.

By 2030, the EU has committed to reducing emissions to 55% below 1990 levels. The Paris agreement saw most countries of the world committing to reducing emissions to attempt to halt the global temperature increase to 2ēC. Unfortunately, projections show these efforts will not be enough to halt the increase to this level. 

Looking further ahead to 2050, EU leaders have endorsed the objective of reducing Europe's greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero as part of efforts by developed countries as a group to reduce their emissions by a similar degree. The European Commission has published a roadmap for building the low-carbon European economy that this will require.

The European Environment State and Outlook Report

The European Environment State and Outlook Synthesis Report (2020) is the latest report on the state of Europe’s environment, which is published by the European Environment Agency (EEA). The report states that  'Achieving the EU’s 2050 sustainability vision is still possible, but it will require a shift in the character and ambition of actions. That means both strengthening established policy tools and building on them with innovative new approaches to governance'. To see the latest report, click here:

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