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Climate change mitigation

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The issue

A rapid, sustained and effective transition to a low carbon economy is necessary to mitigate climate change and meet global greenhouse gas (GHG) emission targets. Numerous initiatives are therefore needed across all sectors to reduce emissions. The cost of addressing climate change now is low compared with the costs of inaction. The EU-15 is on track to meet its Kyoto Protocol target of reducing average emissions in 2008–2012 to 8 % below 1990 levels. Assuming full implementation of EU legislation, the EU-27 should likewise achieve its goal of cutting emissions by 20 % by 2020. However, national pledges under the 2009 Copenhagen Accord are still insufficient to keep average global temperature from rising by more than 2 °C above pre-industrial levels.

Review process

In 2011, the Commission will present a communication on a Roadmap for a Low Carbon Economy by 2050, a revision of the Decision on a Monitoring Mechanism of EU GHG emissions, and an assessment and proposal for potential inclusion of Land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) into the EU's unilateral commitment for 2020 if no international rules are agreed in 2010. This will be followed in 2012 by the end of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol (2008–2012), and the extension of the EU Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS) to include aviation. The third trading period of the EU ETS will begin in 2013 with an extension to new sectors (e.g. aluminium) and gases (e.g. nitrous oxide). Also in 2013, the implementation phase, from 2013–2020, of the Effort Sharing Decision (ESD) will start with an annual compliance cycle.

Links to SOER 2010 and other EEA products

Global megatrends


Thematic assessments

Other EEA products

  • Population
  • Urban
  • Health
  • Ch. 3: Nature and biodiversity
  • Adapting to climate change
  • Ch. 4: Natural resources and waste
  • Biodiversity


  • Continued growth


  • Global power shifts


  • Global competition
  • Marine and coastal environment


  • Consumption and environment



  • Material resources and waste


  • Environmental pollution


  • Water resources: quantity and flows



  • Freshwater quality







  • Urban environment


Note: Above cells with hyperlinks lead to specific SOER 2010 information and other EEA products that are relevant to the policy area on this page.

Geographic coverage

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European Environment Agency (EEA)
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