Home > Governments on the road to Copenhagen > European climate change policies

Print page:

European climate change policies

The European Union has undertaken various climate change initiatives since 1991, when it published the first Community strategy to limit carbon dioxide emissions.

On 29 April 1998, the European Commission signed the Kyoto Protocol in New York, and , subsequently, on 31 May 2002, all EU member states ratified the Kyoto Protocol and undertook to reduce greenhouse gas emissions between 2008 and 2012 with respect to the base year (1990).

As a consequence of the commitments acquired under the Kyoto Protocol, the European Union had to take more convincing actions in order to ensure compliance with emission reductions for the period 2008-2012. These actions are based mainly on the European Climate Change Programme and the Greenhouse Gas Emission Allowance Trading Scheme, one of the pillars of European climate change strategy.

In December 2008, the EU adopted an Integrated Climate Change and Energy Policy, which includes ambitious objectives for 2020. It aims to lead Europe to a sustainable future, with a low-carbon economy and more rational consumption. To achieve this it proposes:

  • To cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20% (30% when an international agreement is reached).
  • To reduce energy consumption by 20% through increased energy efficiency.
  • To obtain 20% of its overall energy mix from renewable sources by 2020.

Related external links