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Climate Change - Taking urgent action to tackle climate change and its consequences

Environment 15-11-2016 - 10:29 / Updated: 15-03-2017 - 17:53

Climate change – perhaps the greatest challenge of our time – is now having an impact all over the world: from melting ice and rising seas, to extreme weather, species extinction and changes to forests, coastlines and other ecosystems. Not only does this put people and wildlife at risk, it also comes at a significant cost to our economies. This is why tackling climate change is a priority for the European Parliament. (Read more: Curbing carbon emissions to tackle climate change )

The melting of Arctic ice is unlocking new opportunities in the form of shipping routes and gas and oil stocks, but also increasing tensions and creating risks for the environment. A Parliament report calls for the protection of the Arctic's unique ecosystem and sets out ways to defuse possible tensions. "There is need to avoid the militarisation of the Arctic and respect for international law is essential,"said report co-author Urmas Paet. MEPs debate the report tonight and vote on it tomorrow. (Read more: Arctic: MEPs debate strategy to prevent conflicts over polar region heating up)

The Arctic is rapidly increasing in importance as global warming is rendering formerly unapproachable northern regions accessible and making it easier to exploit its natural resources. Parliament's environment and foreign affairs committees adopted today a report calling on the EU to act to prevent the militarisation of the region and help preserve its unique ecosystem. Home to the white bear and other endangered species, the Arctic accounts for up to 25% of the world’s natural resources. (Read more: Arctic: environment and foreign affairs committees calls for rapid action to protect the region)

Less than one year after adopting the Paris climate agreement, world leaders and negotiators are meeting for talks in Marrakesh. The COP22 conference on 7-18 November focuses on ways of implementing the first universally binding global deal on climate change, a matter of huge urgency for the planet. Parliament is represented at the talks by a delegation of 12 MEPs led by Italian EPP member Giovanni La Via. (Read more: From agreement to action: what is at stake at the climate talks in Marrakesh?)

Parliament gave its consent to the ratification of the Paris climate agreement today in the presence of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and COP21 President Ségolène Royal after EU ministers approved it on 30 September. The EU ratification will trigger the entry into force of the first-ever universal, legally-binding global climate deal. Ahead of the Council vote, we discussed the agreement with Italian EPP member Giovanni La Via, chair of the environment committee. (Read more: Paris climate agreement: “We are working to secure a swift entry into force”)

A historic agreement to tackle climate change was agreed at the COP21 conference in Paris on Saturday. The European Parliament was present at the summit with a delegation made up of 15 MEPs. We asked delegation head Giovanni La Via, an Italian member of the EPP group, what the next steps will be and how Parliament will be involved. (Read more: La Via: COP21 agreement sets out a clear course for climate policy over next century)

Most people would agree that climate change needs to be tackled, but it is less clear where the money needed to do this should come from. MEPs discussed the issue with their national counterparts on Monday 30 March during a hearing on the climate conference that is due to take place in Paris in December this year. National MPs agreed that their work starts now to ensure their governments prepare for the Paris conference. (Read more: Climate change: the challenge of finding the funds needed)

Only two months left before world leaders gather in Paris to hammer out a global agreement to fight climate change. Parliament will send a delegation of 15 MEPs to the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in December to help obtain a successful result. MEPs debate and vote on Parliament's position on Wednesday. Follow it live on our website and find out more about the stakes involved in our infographics. (Read more: COP21: the road leading to the vital climate change conference in Paris)

MEPs vote this week on plans to reform the EU's emissions trading system (ETS), a scheme set up to help reduce greenhouse gases, which is not not working as expected. Although the EU is the world's third largest CO2 emitter, it also harbours the most ambitious climate target: to cut emissions by at least 40% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. The plans voted on in Parliament this week should help achieve this target while maintaining Europe’s industrial competitiveness. (Read more: CO2 cuts: finding the right balance between protecting trade and fighting climate change)

World leaders gathered at the COP22 climate talks in Marrakesh for the last two weeks to negotiate how to implement the priorities of the Paris agreement. Today nearly 200 countries have backed a proclamation declaring implementing them an "urgent duty". The European Parliament was present at the conference with a delegation composed of 12 MEPs. We asked delegation head Giovanni La Via, an Italian member of the EPP group, about the next steps and the Parliament’s role. (Read more: COP22 in Marrakesh: "EU will deliver on commitments whatever happens")

High-level guests, solemn speeches and a warm applause. All this was present on Tuesday afternoon at the ceremony surrounding Parliament’s historic vote in favour of the Paris climate agreement and the signature paving the way for it to enter into force. Take a look at our slideshow to see how it happened. (Read more: Photos: climate deal approved and signed by Parliament)

The environment is something Europeans care deeply about: 67% of them would like to the EU to do more on environmental protection, according to a Eurobarometer survey commissioned by the European Parliament. Read our article to find out more about what the EU is already doing and will be doing to protect your health, safeguard biodiversity and fight climate change. (Read more: Environment: 67% of Europeans want the EU to do more )

December's climate change conference in Paris aims to come up with an international agreement to help limit global warming after 2020, but it is far from the first one. MEPs are this week voting on a recommendation to ensure that the Doha climate agreement, setting targets for emissions reductions up to 2020, is still ratified by the end of the year. Read on to find out more about the first climate change agreements and the efforts to come up with a new global deal to help fight global warming. (Read more: Climate change agreement: from Kyoto to Doha and beyond)

Rising temperatures, melting glaciers and ever more frequent droughts and floods are all signs that climate change is a very real threat. In December a new international climate agreement will be sought at a special UN summit in Paris. On Wednesday the environment committee adopted a report setting out Parliament's aims for the negotiations. After the Committee vote, EP rapporteur Gilles Pargneaux (S&D, FR) talked to us on the goals agreed upon. The plenary vote is foreseen for October 14. (Read more: Gilles Pargneaux on the UN Climate Summit: "a summit to decide")

“Raise your voice, not the sea level” is the motto of this year´s World Environment Day, which calls attention to the impact climate change has on small islands. The day is held on 5 June every year to raise awareness and encourage people to act to protect the environment. The European Parliament has been at the forefront of the world´s response to global warming, by adopting legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and by guiding the EU towards a low-carbon economy. (Read more: World Environment Day: Parliament's non-stop fight against climate change)

REF. : 20141118TST79414
MEPs push for carbon trading reform

The European cap-and-trade system is the first of its kind in the world to tackle carbon emissions with free market tools...and it direly needs an update.

Priorities for Europe: energy union and climate change

Cooperatives like Ecopower exemplify the EU's switch from fossil and nuclear fuel to renewable energy. They help us realise the EU's pledge to cut greenhouse gases and create a coordinated Energy Union.

Parliament approves ratification of Paris climate agreement

MEPs gave their consent to the ratification of the Paris agreement, the first-ever universal and legally binding global climate deal, in the presence of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

of people in the EU support more EU action on environmental protection (Eurobarometer 2016)
(Read more)
Key elements of the Paris agreement

Keeping the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels


Pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels


Reaching global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible and recognising that peaking will take longer for developing countries and to undertake rapid reductions thereafter


Developed countries will mobilise at least $100 billion per year by 2020 to provide climate support for developing countries


Every five years, starting in 2023, countries will revise their plans and contributions