UPDATE (02/06/2017): President Trump has announced that the US will be withdrawing from the Paris Agreement. The UN deal on climate change anyway didn’t include legally-binding measures, and so the move from Trump is largely symbolic. Nevertheless, could it encourage other countries to follow? And, as America is the largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world after China, will the rest of the world be able to meet the goals laid down in the Paris Agreement without the US? Is the European Union poised to once again (alongside China) assume a leading role in the fight against climate change?
ORIGINAL (18/08/2016): Michael Phelps isn’t the only one breaking records this summer. July 2016 was the hottest summer on record (despite some people believing otherwise). The world is getting hotter.
Over the past century, the global temperature has climbed by 0.7 degrees centigrade, almost 10 times faster than the average rate of ice-age recovery warming. Scientists warn that catastrophic climate change will occur if the temperature increases over 1.5 degrees centigrade, which doesn’t leave us with much wiggle room (and some believe it’s already too late).
It’s not all bad news, though. At the Paris UN climate summit in December 2015, 195 countries signed the first legally-binding climate deal. That deal was spurred on, in large part, by consensus between the US and China that climate change needed to be tackled. So, are the US and China the global leaders now in the fight against global warming?
Traditionally, the EU has seen itself as the international lead on climate action. It has committed to binding climate targets, such as the EU climate strategy for 2020, including a 20% increase in energy to be produced by renewables, 20% lower greenhouse gas emissions, and a 20% increase in energy efficiency by the year 2020.
However, ultimately, are the US and China (the world’s biggest emitters of CO2) in the driving seat? As the EU struggles to avoid disintegration, amid rising populist anger, will it still be able to maintain a leading role on environmental issues?
Curious to know more about the EU’s role in tackling climate change? We’ve put together some facts and figures in the infographic below (click for a bigger version).
Can the EU continue to play a leading role tackling climate change? Amid rising populist anger, will Europe be able to maintain a leading role on environmental issues? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!
IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – Asian Development Bank
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