EU Climate Change and Energy Policy

Climate change is being blamed for November 2012's extreme flooding in Venice, Italy, for the fourth time since 2000
© Istockphoto / horstgerlach

Climate change is a big issue for WWF because it affects many aspects of our lives. The European Union is the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases and WWF is taking action to convince EU decision makers to reduce our emissions and help fight climate change.

Climate change is a huge threat for the world’s societies and ecosystems. A warming planet alters weather patterns and water supplies, seasonal growth for plants and ways of life for people and wildlife.

Its impacts are already being felt all over the world and are also knocking on Europe’s door, bringing heat waves, forest fires, prolonged droughts, and extreme rainfall resulting in devastating floods.

To keep temperatures down, we have to cut greenhouse gas emissions decisively – by 95% by 2050, with a more immediate target of 40% by 2020 and 55% by 2030. This would contribute giving a good probability of staying below 2° C warming, and would keep WWF’s goal of a 1.5° C maximum within reach.

The European Union’s Member States have endorsed the 2° limit, but the EU’s current targets only require a 20% cut in emissions by 2020, with a final objective of 80-95% by 2050.

The time to act is now

As the EU climate and energy framework for 2030 is now being discussed, but the proposals recently outlined by the European Commission are far too weak.

By suggesting a greenhouse gas emissions target (40%) out of line with climate science, as well as a low renewable energy target which places no legal requirements on member states, the Commission appears to be putting the brakes on modernising Europe’s energy system.

The EU needs to recognise the urgency of the climate crisis, take responsibility and act now.

WWF calls on Member State governments to show the political leadership needed to inspire Europe towards an industrial and economic revolution that will provide for both people and the planet.

WWF's goal is for the EU to achieve 95% greenhouse gas cuts and 100% renewable energy supply from sustainable sources by 2050.