A deal was reached at the Paris climate conference. 200 countries agreed to work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to levels that would produce no more than 1.5 to 2.0 degrees of warming. There is broad scientific agreement that anything more than that would be beyond the bounds of our capacity to adapt to a warming climate.

Now the hard work really begins. How can we ensure that the agreement translates into meaningful action that helps to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions? Critics argue that the Paris deal is too weak; it has no enforcement mechanism, and the CO2 reduction commitments anyway won’t kick in until 2020. Supporters, however, point out that the Paris summit has brought the international community together in a way that few issues have in the past. There is, at least, a willingness to work together.

What do our readers think? We had a comment sent in from Stephen, arguing that the Paris climate change conference should be considered a failure if it doesn’t put an end to “business as usual”. How can we ensure that governments actually follow through on their promises?

How would YOU cut CO2 emissions? We asked Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from all sides of the political spectrum to stake out their positions on this question, and it’s up to YOU to vote for the policies you favour. See what the different MEPs have to say, then vote at the bottom of this debate for the one you most agree with! Take part in the vote below and tell us who you support in the European Parliament!

Radical Left
Fabio de Masi (Radical Left), Member of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs:

de masiI think we need to completely revamp the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). It does not work. It granted too many emissions rights to large corporations and they actually made a huge profit through the trading scheme without having a tangible impact on CO2 emissions. We need a big new deal and investment programme which kickstarts renewable energy but which also transforms, for example, our public transport systems. And if we do not solve it then it will be much more costly and have a much worse impact on economic development because we will have to cope with the cost of climate change, which will be tremendous if we do not act now.

Greens
Benedek Jávor (Group of the Greens), Vice-Chair of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety:

javorThe European Union should be more ambitious regarding its own targets. The Council conclusion of October 2014 about emissions reduction, the share of renewables, and energy efficiency targets was clearly too unambitious and they are far from putting us on the track to sustainability. So, the European Union should raise and increase its ambitions on the European level, and also the Member States should do everything to cut CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions. And this is also essential to keep the role for the European Union as the global forerunner of climate efforts. With low ambitions, the EU is not able to behave at the global level as a credible leader for climate efforts.

Liberal Democrats
Philippe de Backer (ALDE), Member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy:

Centre Right
Bendt Bendtsen (EPP), Committee on Industry, Research and Energy:

bendtsenI think it’s necessary to get new rules on the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). Without that, we can’t get the system to function, so that’s very important. But, on the other hand, one of the big tools we can use to reduce CO2 emissions is energy efficiency. There are a lot of “low-hanging fruit” to lower energy consumption. And, at the same time, we can lower our dependency on Mr Putin and his gas, and also oil from the Middle East.

Conservatives
Ian Duncan (ECR), Member of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (NOTE: We contacted the ECR for comment but they did not reply in time for publication. The below is from a statement published on the ECR’s website about the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS)):

UKThe Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) as it stands is broken. This may be our only chance to prove to Europe and the rest of the world that emissions trading systems can work. We need to strike the right balance between protecting industry and jobs, and meeting our climate change obligations. I don’t think those goals are mutually exclusive, but I do know that the EU ETS as it stands is not delivering either.

Eurosceptics

Roger Helmer (EFD), Member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (NOTE: We contacted the EFD for comment but they did not reply in time for publication. The below is from a speech made by Roger Helmer following the Paris climate conference:

helmer-speaksThe Paris agreement is a damp squid. It is little more than aspirational. There is no implementation or enforcement mechanism. That leaves the EU competitively disadvantaged as the only area with legally-enforceable emissions obligations.

We have talked about keeping global warming to 2 degrees C, or 2.7 or 1.5, but the IPCC itself suggests a very wide range of values for climate sensitivity, between 1.5 and 4.5 degrees per doubling of CO2. With this huge range of uncertainty, it is simply delusional to pretend that we can set meaningful targets to 1/10th of a degree.

But the real problems we face will be political, not environmental. The economic damage and the sacrifices required from citizens to implement the Paris agreement are simply not deliverable in a democratic context. Governments that seek to implement this agreement will create an economic wasteland…

Curious to know more about efforts to cut CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions across Europe? We’ve put together some facts and figures in the infographic below (click for a bigger version).

Sustainable-Growth
IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – Louis Vest
With the support of:

 



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What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    David Thomas Salva

    I think you should’ve asked how to make the EU more united. Without unification all of the issues we’re facing will be hard to solve easily. Greetings from Poland!

  2. avatar
    Bart Van Damme

    As usual, a lot of blah blah about how much we need regulations and how much we need commitment, but I see not one single concrete proposal. Politicians at their best: pretending to be doing something, but not really doing anything at all.

    As for my two cents: big-scale renewables are not going to cut it. I think we should aim much, much more for local, personal renewables. Every home should have its own ways of generating power, thus cutting out the need for large-scale power transportation and power storage. It will hopefully also make people more aware of their own power consumption.

    And then the question is: how much do we gain out of these renewables relative to their ecological cost of production, maintenance, and recycling? Any form of renewable energy that polutes more to produce, transport, recycle, … than it will ever save is obviously a joke.

  3. avatar
    Eilrahc Siusej

    Ivan Burrows, We wonder why some lobbies are still promoting the old windmill technology when we have fantastic new ones completely censored…
    Who would a bad image of Windmills benefit???
    Oh wait !!! I think your question gives the answer !!! o.O

    Re: Ivan Burrows >> “There is only one way to cut CO2, Nuclear. But the EU will stay in the stone age with its windmills.”

  4. avatar
    Eilrahc Siusej

    We should focus on serious pollution issues , like Nuclear enerby, destruction of the soils through intensive chemical agriculture, pollution of the underground water, Genetically Modified stuff, etc… and stop looking at the lure of CO2 aimed at transforming the last common good after the water, the air, into a commercial product…

  5. avatar
    Rudi Spoljarec

    Simply . Investments and research for new energy should be primary target . Eastern eu governments don’t want and don’t know how to do it . They rather keep and pay huge bureaucracy , which is statal ownership. Here are thousands of employees in those statal agencies ( we have at least 15 agencies which nominally have duty and concern of environment or energy , but they do nothing , but only reach their salary for nothing). It is nonsense . Imagine that governmental law writers prescribed and oblige us to switch the light of the car all day long in period of 6 months??????????? It’s insane . They say that it was for secure driving . Is that logic ??? Only one small example , but if you have hundred , and we have thousands of stupidities , what do we do for nature and environment???Disaster

  6. avatar
    Chris Panayis

    What’s that I hear? This is not a time for opinions. This is a time for study. Why do we pollute, how do we pollute, what alternatives are proposed for each polluting social group, if any such proposals are made, what are the positions of the rest countries in the world, what is the risk, what are the alternatives, what can be done to lower global temperature (we need a global aircondition unit of sorts) etc. Anything less is stupid. EU’s problem remains the same in all occasions – we need cohesion, social protection and a strong leadership.

  7. avatar
    Vinko Rajic

    Simple , big investment is wind and solar . EU should give for free solar panel in value of 200 billions to poor households in Portugal, Spain , Italy , Croatia and Greece . EU should help wind power with 200 billion in the North Europe . EU should support development of electrical cars otherwise EU car industry is getting destroyed. US and Japanese cars are superior to those made in the EU. GREAT SCAM : “Electrical cars use dirty coal to charge batteries ” . That is not the truth :
    You found 1 liter of petrol needs ~1kWh of electricity in its refining(1uk Gallon = 4.54litres). The 2010 Australian passenger car fleet average was 8.85Km/L a 2013 Nissan leaf can drive 8.33km on 1kWh(7.829Km/kWh using your end user statistics, 7.3km/kWh for the 2011/12leaf).
    Tell me again that petrol cars are cleaner then electric cars because power plants aren’t clean.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQpX-9OyEr4

  8. avatar
    Eilrahc Siusej

    Electric or compressed-air car technologies (presently censored) should only be created together with alternative ways of creating energy (solar, wind etc…) and NOT as a way to impose Nuclear Energy !!!

    Re: Vinko Rajic >> “Tell me again that petrol cars are cleaner then electric cars because power plants aren’t clean.”

  9. avatar
    Darin Attard

    Plant millions of trees world wide. Ensure that all houses around Europe have roof garden. Invest millions in soil enrichment. Carbon is captured by plants during photosynthesis. Encourage organic produce, eliminate gmo’s and improve mobility by creating cars that work on electricity and water. The technology is here – market it, USE IT.

  10. avatar
    Enric Mestres Girbal

    Maybe if you stop moving from Brussels to Strasburg and back, if you stop having thousends of meetings to no results and not fly home every week, Europe will have more money and less polution.

  11. avatar
    EU reform- proactive

    Assuming this question was directed to us “personally”- let me than assume that the political EU has done their bit of research and decided to lead by example- like:

    * Closing Brussels & Strasbourg and operating from all member’s home parliament by video link, instead spoiling politicians with lux BMW’s with heated seats, lavish accommodation, food & other luxuries.
    * e-direct democracy & e-voting.
    * Reduce EU’s political contingent & its choir drastically.
    * Use of electric bicycles & public transport.
    * Launch of a massive e-information campaign to spread the EU’s newly discovered innovations.
    * The attached future “personal guide” which the EU will send to everyone soon is attached here to be studied by all.
    * The “25 (EU) tips”- more can be added: http://cotap.org/reduce-carbon-footprint/

    Present global “base load energy” from coal & oil used by industry etc and their replacement with future innovative alternative energies are excluded here!

  12. avatar
    Fabiola Nardò

    I suggest the vision of the documentary “Cowspiracy”. Most of the pollution comes from meat amd diary production. Reduce it would be a big start!

  13. avatar
    Fabiola Nardò

    I suggest the vision of the documentary “Cowspiracy”. Most of the pollution comes from meat amd diary production. Reduce it would be a big start!

  14. avatar
    Bastian

    How to cut CO2 emissions: Amongst others, by curbing mass migration from CO2 LOW to CO2 HIGH countries. Today, environmental sustainability is often damaged by too much political correctness. In other words, political priorities often contradict each other and thus prevent reaching reasonable goals.

  15. avatar
    Mauro Scimone

    More investment in clean technology and renewable, EV cars and smart mobility, energy efficienty

  16. avatar
    Mauro Scimone

    More investment in clean technology and renewable, EV cars and smart mobility, energy efficienty

  17. avatar
    Erich Scheffl

    Why don’t you organise a “direct democracy” ? Instead of Lobbies. Then people can participate in such discussions. But when you think, you can manage via the internet, you fail. http://www.WWSEEP.com – sustainable economy.

  18. avatar
    FILIP CIKLEVSKI

    If you prove that the CO2 emissions and others are dangerous for the health why you compromising.

  19. avatar
    Andrew Adamson

    The EU debate from the stay in faction proudly says that because of the EU air fares are 40% cheaper. Great, now that we have non-polluting planes that do not spew out all those greenhouse gases we can all go anywhere with total peace of mind. Oh. sorry that has not happened yet, get real, climate change is a fact.

    • avatar
      Geoffrey Lipman

      Aviation has huge trade, life and development benefits so we need a Moonshot on zero carbon aviation fuel (smart biofuel). To complement basic aviation low carbon strategies

  20. avatar
    John Mitchell

    I use methane and solar for my electricity. Until someone builds an affordable 4×4 with a 4-600 Km range, I will stick with my 10 year old, LPG powered Lada Niva

  21. avatar
    Adrian Limbidis

    Do like the dutch- go full crazy with bicycles.
    You cannot believe how CLEAN the streets are and how CLEAN the air is.
    And for long distances?

    TRAINS.
    Trains are the future.
    An automobile is INCREDIBLY inefficient.
    You are lugging 2 TONS of steel to lug your sorry 80kg ass around. Talk about WASTE of fuel and energy.
    An extensive green energy and railway system should be pushed by the EU.
    And not by PRIVATE corporations but by the STATES, that way the benefits go to society not some rich asshole.

    AGAIN the radical left is right.

  22. avatar
    Jean-Mouloud de Abdullah

    Do like the dutch- go full crazy with bicycles.
    You cannot believe how CLEAN the streets are and how CLEAN the air is.
    And for long distances?

    TRAINS.
    Trains are the future.
    An automobile is INCREDIBLY inefficient.
    You are lugging 2 TONS of steel to lug your sorry 80kg ass around. Talk about WASTE of fuel and energy.
    An extensive green energy and railway system should be pushed by the EU.
    And not by PRIVATE corporations but by the STATES, that way the benefits go to society not some rich asshole.

    AGAIN the radical left is right.

  23. avatar
    Jean-Mouloud de Abdullah

    I love couscous

  24. avatar
    Jean-Mouloud de Abdullah

    On s’en bat les couilles de votre débat ! Vive le couscous !!

  25. avatar
    Jean-Mouloud de Abdullah

    Algérie soon in the European Union

  26. avatar
    Andrej Němec

    – Use geothermal energy for household heating. Better building insulation.
    – Electric Google cars + Uber
    – Safe and secured nuclear power plants.

  27. avatar
    Vinko Rajic

    Simple , cheap and it would create many jobs in the EU . Otherwise if you do it people would understand that EU did something very good for all of them . Order 50 000 000 of those solar systems and give it for free to EU citizens . To install it like this is simple and cheap , it is like IKEA furniture : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dzar3xqCb6k

  28. avatar
    Hugo Couto

    Less meat, more bikes, more and better green public transports, green education replacing consume/productivity education.

  29. avatar
    nando

    Look at the cuases of CO2 emmissions… and tackle them. It is NOT rocket science! It is lack of political will.
    http://sites.duke.edu/…/carbon-dioxide…/carbon-dioxide/

  30. avatar
    David Turner

    Limit the distance people are allowed to travel to work.
    Have automatic cutouts on engines if stationery for certain amount of time.
    Encourage parents’ to walk children to school.

  31. avatar
    Karen Gould

    Carbon emission is one of the main reasons for environmental pollution. Even though, certain emission happens naturally, there are a lot of human activities including that contributes to the pollution. Here, today I am going to discuss the possible ways to reduce carbon emission from your office. Luckily, there are enormous favourable steps which you can implement for reducing carbon dioxide and make the environment more sustainable.

    For more info, visit us – https://vswitchusave.co.uk/blog/possible-ways-of-reducing-carbon-emission-from-office

  32. avatar
    Jeremy Bornstein

    China and India are a thing,all of Europe could turn its lights off forever and it wouldnt make a difference. Millions of Europeans suffer fuel poverty bc of communist/green induced policies.

  33. avatar
    Daniel Parvanov

    Every single family house which has suitable roof should have solar panels (both for electricity and hot water one – vacuum tubes) which will reduce their consumption from the grid to virtually 0 during the day … I use and 1 kw per hour in peak hours when most go for air conditioning on days I need such and 5 kw roof installation can satisfy my need even when it work on 20% capacity

    I want to buy a plugin hybrid (which I use on electryc mode in the city and use gasoline only for long distance) of full electric that can go 600 km but currently they are off my budget

    Advance the hi-speed trains railroads or research for hipper loops on very busy destinations to compete with air planes

    We should work to make that technologies cheaper and more accessible

  34. avatar
    Franck Legon

    Liquefied Hydrogen Gas Propulsion, produced from water on renewable energies, as a replacement fuel for every oil engine. Easy conversion, same gas station pumps as Methan Lequified Gas Propulsion, same cars, trucks, etc. engines as oil based fuel with only the injection/carburators change, already existing technology, no need of super-batteries based on rare ressources, no need of building a whole new electrical grid for recharge, much better and viable than the “all electric” vehicules projected swap.

  35. avatar
    Simion Truta

    By checking which plants don’t consume too much oxigen at night and enriching the arhitecture with them! :D

  36. avatar
    Боян Максимов

    with nuclear energy for transport everybody and everything /exept sea shipping/ and home. less hundreds billions euro for corporate green lobby and regulations in Bruxxell, and more nuclear reactors. But the corruption in Bruxxell is too high for that change. This demonisation of nuclear power, cost our future.

  37. avatar
    Ivan

    If you really think its important to reduce it then the only way is nuclear.

  38. avatar
    Anonymous

    i would stop the silly practice of going from stras….to bruc once a month

  39. avatar
    John Mitchell

    Make EU representatives use scheduled airlines for travel

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