The Climate is changing:
What about EU?

, by Silke Gebel

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]

The Climate is changing: What about EU?

Taking a look at the work of the European Union, one could say that it is amazing how a project that once started as an attempt towards discovering better and more efficient ways of producing coal and steel is now one of the global leaders in the environmental field. This makes sense from a federalist perspective as the results of environmental damages tend to cross borders very easily.

Moreover, this makes sense from a green perspective as the latest report of the International Panels on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that together with immediate measures concerning the climate changes, the polar caps will melt, the sea level will rise by around 20 cm and the global temperature will rise by about 0.6 degrees. All that may not sound too dangerous, but it results in what we can already witness today in the daily news: hurricanes such as Katrina in the United States, floods as seen on the whole African continent or Tsunamis such as in some Asian countries.

In short, nature strikes back whatever we do but even more so when there are no changes seen by the biggest environmental polluters, that is, the industrial countries. This means there has to be a halving of the green house emissions until 2050 in comparison to the values of 1990. This would mean a decreasing of 30 % in the European Union.

EU’s new raison d’etre?!

This has to be one of the major topics of the European Union. The German EU-Presidency with former environmental minister Angela Merkel tried to work towards this goal. The big 20-20-20 of the three E’s: 20 % renewable energies, 20 % more energy efficiency and 20 % more reduction is a step in the right direction but until now these are only a PR gimmick, albeit an important one as it brings up awareness with regard to the importance of the topic to the general public. This is good on the one hand, as we need general awareness to stop, or at least slow down, climate change, especially since the rising temperature that is caused by green house effect is a result of too many human emissions.

Everybody can do something and everybody seems to want to do something: a lot of citizens have started to change their electricity usage, are trying to save energy or to consume more organic food. It seems as if we are finally starting to take care of the so-called “ecological footprint” that everyone of us leaves on our planet Earth. If everybody were to live the way “normal” people in industrial countries do, one Earth wouldn’t be enough to balance the emissions caused by beef, cars or oil.

But it is not only the consumers that are responsible for the changes; enterprises have to change their producing methods, products have to be more environmental friendly and aimed at saving energy and being sustainable

The European Union, and especially the national leaders, has to support environmental tendencies. This means that subsidies should only be paid for sustainable products, the 20 % agreed reduction has to be achieved and the “foreign-energy-policy” has to be under the same environmental values as the internal European one. Changing to renewables in Europe by importing more and more gas from Russia or the OPEC countries is not only contradictory but also counterproductive.

However, this also means that there must be campaigns for the climate, for the environment and for a sustainable lifestyle. This is a job that the European Union is able and should also be willing to so. Together we can change the climate change!

Image: Climate Change by Twm™’s, taken from Flickr

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