The climate is changing, as it has periodically over the millennia.
But in the 21st century and the latter part of the 20th century, human activities— particularly the combustion of fossil fuels—are primarily responsible for the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that are accelerating the rate of climate change, heating the earth’s surface and atmosphere sufficiently totrigger potentially catastrophic consequences for the planet and its populations.
Unless global emissions are reduced by at least half of the 1990 levels by 2050, a temperature rise of 2° C (3.6° F) above pre-industrial levels will be difficult to avoid. Climate change beyond 2° C could unleash wide-ranging impacts on the natural environment, human activities and health, global and regional stability and security, and economies.
The European Union is leading global action on climate change, both by setting out what needs to be done internationally to limit global warming to less than 2° C and by committing to and achieving significant cuts to its own greenhouse gas emissions. The EU was an early adopter of actions to help counter climate change, including its “first in the world carbon market”, implemented through the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). The EU is also a strong proponent of enhancing energy efficiency and promoting an expanded use of renewable energy.
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Courtesy of the EU Delegation to the U.S.