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How the E.U Plans to Combat Global Warming

Aug 17, 2008
Climate change and global warming - indeed, how to control them - are becoming more central to politics with every new development. Sustainable energy is the method of our times, and government's across the globe are under pressure - from each other, from environmental groups, and from individuals - to implement genuine and successful 'green' policy.

The E.U is one of the biggest political organisations in the world. It comprises 27 member states and under its banner are close to 500 million people. The GDP that the E.U generates accounts for roughly 30% of the world.

In terms of the world's environment, then, it is a chief player. What is the European Union doing to combat global warming and climate change? And are they committed to the cause?

The official E.U website has this to say on the matter:

"Sustainable Development stands for meeting the needs of present generations without jeopardizing the ability of futures generations to meet their own needs - in other words, a better quality of life for everyone, now and for generations to come. It offers a vision of progress that integrates immediate and longer-term objectives, local and global action, and regards social, economic and environmental issues as inseparable and interdependent components of human progress.

Sustainable development will not be brought about by policies only: it must be taken up by society at large as a principle guiding the many choices each citizen makes every day, as well as the big political and economic decisions that have. This requires profound changes in thinking, in economic and social structures and in consumption and production patterns."

What is clear, then, is that the E.U see promotion of the message as central; a sustainable future is only possible with a growing conciousness and willingness on the part of the public to accept and encourage environmental policy and legislation.

If the E.U can get its citizens to accept the challenge, though, what policy can be expected from the organizations governments?

The 'E.U Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS)' was established to answer exactly that question. In its own words, the SDS will "gradually change our current unsustainable consumption and production patterns and move towards a better integrated approach to policy-making...[it will] reaffirm the need for global solidarity and recognizes the importance of strengthening our work with partners outside the EU, including those rapidly developing countries which will have a significant impact on global sustainable development."

So the E.U - acknowledging its role within the world's sphere - champions the importance of climate change as a global issue, and believes that it should be treated as such. Its method for achieving that aim is to work closely and extensively with the world's other governmental bodies.

The SDS has 7 key areas of interest:

Climate change and clean energy
Sustainable transport
Sustainable consumption & production
Conservation and management of natural resources
Public Health
Social inclusion, demography and migration
Global poverty and sustainable development challenges

Central, then, is the simultaneous need for a maintenance of current ecosystems - to conserve and manage the continent's current resources - combined with a development of a sustainable infrastructure for the future; investment in clean fuels, plus solar energy, wind energy and biogas.

Indeed, the E.U - through its 7 SDS points - recognises that environmental issues affect everything in our lives, because we are part of the environment, and so everything we do is affecting it also. As such, the E.U beleives that 'Changing Behaviour' is imperative in the fight against climate change:

"A host of cultural, economic, social and psychological factors affect the way we behave, often locking us into unsustainable consumption habits. Even those who say they will buy organic food for environmental reasons and the good of their own health may change their minds if products outstrip their budget."

The overall challenge, then, for the European Union - along with the rest of the world's nations - is to educate the next generation on the pitfalls of our own.

That way, the E.U can guarantee that it does not return in the future to the issues that have caused the problem in the first instance.
About the Author
Chris Woolfrey is the Global Warming expert at EcoSwitch The environmental social network.
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