‘A world you like. With a climate you like.’ The European Commission campaign to promote climate action and a low-carbon economy run by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Climate Action.
On this site, you will learn more about the European Union’s ambitious climate goals. To achieve these goals, real leadership, innovative ideas and participation at all levels are required. The European Union has taken many climate action initiatives to promote a green and low-carbon economy. More action is needed. Even small actions can lead to significant benefits, not just for the planet and its environment, but also for individuals and their pockets. Saving energy and saving emissions can also save money. That’s where you can step in. The theme texts, success stories and tips you will find throughout the site can be easily integrated into your day-to-day life.
Climate change is not a distant future threat. It is happening already – and accelerating. For 333 consecutive months, global temperatures have been above the 20th century average. Formerly one-off extreme weather events seem to be becoming the new normal. This is in line with what scientists have been projecting about what a world undergoing global warming will be like.
The consequences of climate change are being felt across the world:
- Record droughts in Africa, the US and elsewhere over the past few years have helped push up global food prices;
- Summer Arctic ice has reached a record low and virtually all glaciers worldwide are retreating;
- Historic flooding in Asia has destroyed the homes and livelihoods of millions of people.
We are seeing impacts in Europe too:
- Europe witnessed several record-breaking cold snaps and heat waves in recent years, which caused tens of thousands of premature deaths;
- River and coastal flooding affects millions of people in Europe every year;
- Milder winters threaten winter sports tourism in many regions and make ticks and mosquitoes spread over Europe;
- Agricultural yields in southern Europe are decreasing due to droughts.
International organisations like the World Bank, the Food and Agriculture Organisation or the United Nations Environment Programme have all warned of the destructive effects of global warming on people’s livelihoods and the economy. Scientists say that to prevent climate change from spiralling out of control, global warming must be kept below 2°C compared to the temperature in pre-industrial times. But if current trends continue, the world is set for a temperature increase of more than 3°C, with all the devastating effects that will go with it. Climate change is caused by greenhouse gas emissions – mainly from human activity. Burning fossil fuels is responsible for three quarters of global emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions in Europe are currently almost 18% below 1990 levels. Global emissions, however, keep on rising, in particular due to rapid economic growth in countries like China, India and Brazil. It is not too late to fix the climate. But this requires drastic and rapid cuts in greenhouse gas emissions of at least -50% globally and 80-95% for Europe by 2050. Studies show this is feasible and affordable, but it requires us to make the transition to a low-carbon society sooner rather than later. The longer we wait, the more expensive it becomes.
Connie Hedegaard, EU Commissioner for Climate Action, says:
“Building a climate-friendly society is without doubt a big challenge, but it is also a huge opportunity. Making our society low-carbon will create new, green jobs and cutting-edge technologies. It will give us lower energy bills, comfortable and modern homes, cleaner air and more mobility. The low-carbon economy is about a smarter kind of growth. About getting more out of less. And if we start now we can make a smooth and cost-effective transition whereas the bill will rise if we postpone action. A low-carbon society is not a distant Utopian vision. We already have many of the necessary technologies. The real challenge is to apply them and bring them to scale. And all of us can help with that. On this website we are collecting concrete examples from all over Europe – examples of how individuals, local groups and businesses are already taking their own low-carbon measures for the benefit of both the climate and the economy. These examples show that, whether it is about our homes and buildings, our shopping and eating habits or our transport and travelling patterns, the solutions are already out there. And we invite you to contribute with your own examples. Fighting climate change is about creating a world we want to live in, a world we’re proud to present to our kids. If we continue with business as usual, climate change can reach dangerous levels in the coming years and its consequences are already being felt around globe. But we can prevent that by taking action now. So please join us in building ‘A World You Like. With a Climate You Like.’
Check out this website and our EU climate action Facebook page to see what is going on near you and share your views and actions with me and other Europeans.