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EU Sets Example for Slowing Climate Change
an article by Tony Dominski

The European Union (EU) is showing how to slow global climate change by reducing the amount of carbon dioxide gas put into the air (emissions). See their website. They have already started 30 different actions limit climate warming to 2 degrees Centigrade (5 degrees Fahrenheit).

The 27 member states in the EU plan to reduce the carbon dioxide gas put out by 20 to 30 percent by 2020, and to ensure that by 2020 at least 20 percent of their energy comes from renewable sources like wind and solar power. The EU will also invest 1 billion euros ($1.4 billion dollars) over the next six years into research on renewable energy.

They launched the European a special programme called the European Climate Change Programme (ECCP) in March 2000. Under this programme, Commission officials have worked with industry, environmental organizations and other stakeholders to identify cost-effective measures to reduce emissions.

A cornerstone of EU climate change policies is the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme launched in January 2005. EU governments have set limits to how much carbon dioxide their 11,500 power plants and energy-intensive factories are allowed to put out each year. These plants account for almost half of the EU's emissions.

Those plants that emit less carbon dioxide than they are allowed can sell the unused emission quotas to other factories that are not doing that well. This offers them a financial incentive to reduce emissions.

Other ECCP carbon dioxide reduction measures are aimed at improving the fuel-efficiency of cars and the energy efficiency of buildings (better insulation can reduce heating costs by 90%). Seventy percent of the energy used by households in the EU is spent on heating homes and another 14% on heating water.

The EU is also increasing the use of renewable energy sources, such as wind, sun, tidal power, biomass (organic material such as wood, mill residues, plants, animal droppings, etc.) and geothermal power (heat from hot springs or volcanoes); using the waste heat from power plants to heat apartment buildings or run factories; controlling the fluorinated greenhouse gases; reducing methane emissions from landfills; and promoting climate-friendly technologies.


Question(s) related to this article:

Despite the vested interests of companies and governments, Can we make progress toward sustainable development?

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Latest reader comment:

[responding to CPNN article The film 'Demain', a manifesto?

Yes initiatives from the grassroots are important and necessary which will have a direct impact on the present and the future. But there are governments like India which are conscious of over exploitation of the earth’s resources and are taking suitable policy measures and also taking legal action against the exploiters.

We must emphasize public transportation and reduce our dependence on individual cars even though the auto industry will not like this.

Otherwise it is not demain but aujourdhui — the problems are there for us to see.

This report was posted on April 9, 2007.