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As the source of substantial and rapidly growing greenhouse gas emissions, transport must clearly be part of a global agreement to mitigate climate change.
Every winter the gates of Copenhagen's famous Tivoli Gardens, an old-world amusement park in the city centre, open to officially mark the beginning of the extended Christmas period. This December the twinkling lights of Tivoli will most likely be outshone by COP 15 — the most important global climate change meeting ever — as thousands of diplomats, politicians, business people, environmentalists, media and climate experts from around the globe flock to the Danish capital.
Cities and towns are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and will need to find innovative ways to adapt. Now is the time to start rethinking urban design and management — yet few have taken concrete action.
Barcelona is becoming a leader in solar energy use, Malmö is developing a carbon neutral residential area and London is setting ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets. Cities are joining in the fight against climate change.
'Our water is shut off once or twice a month, sometimes more,' says Baris Tekin from his apartment in Besiktas, an historic district of Istanbul, where he lives with his wife and daughter. 'We have about 50 litres of bottled water in the apartment for washing and cleaning, just in case. If the water is off for a really long time we go to my father's place or to my wife's parents,' says Baris, an economics professor at Marmara University.
A fisherman's tale: on the night of 6 October 1986 lobster fishermen from the small town of Gilleleje, north of Copenhagen, fishing the Kattegat Sea, found their nets crammed with Norway lobster. Many of the animals were dead or dying. About half were a strange colour.
We already have much information to guide strategic climate change response measures at the EU, national, regional and local levels. But the effectiveness and efficiency of actions can be improved with more and better information.
Climate change adaptation must be integrated into policies across all sectors and engage all levels of society. To achieve this, new frameworks and governance structures are needed.
Climate change is happening and its effects are wide-ranging. While the worst effects may not hit Europe this year or next, we cannot afford to be complacent. Europeans must put in place timely, adequate and cost-effective adaptation measures.
The seas, and especially the European ones, are warming up. More likely than not, the Arctic will have ice-free summers well before the end of this century. Fish and plankton are already expanding their geographical distribution further north, and the seasonal cycles of certain species are changing.
Bioenergy is not new. For millennia, people have been burning wood. The industrial revolution in the mid-1800s brought so called 'fossil fuels', mainly coal and oil, to the fore. However, fossil fuels are becoming more difficult to find and extract, more expensive, and subject to intense political debate.
Soil is an important — and often neglected — element of the climate system. It is the second largest carbon store, or ‘sink’, after the oceans. Depending on the region, climate change might result in more carbon being stored in plants and soil due to vegetation growth, or more carbon being released into the atmosphere. Restoring key ecosystems on land, and a sustainable use of the land in urban and rural areas, can help us mitigate and adapt to climate change.
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe’s environment.
PDF generated on 28 Nov 2015, 04:59 PM