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A significant reduction in the consumption of ozone-depleting substances (ODS) has been achieved by the EEA-33 countries since 1986. This reduction has been largely driven by the 1987 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Montreal Protocol.
Upon entry into force of the Montreal Protocol, EEA-33 consumption was approximately 420 000 ozone-depleting potential tonnes (ODP tonnes). Consumption values around zero were reached in 2002 and have remained consistently so ever since. S ince the early 1990s, th e European Union (EU) has taken additional measures, in the shape of EU law, to reduce the consumption of ODS. In many aspects, the current EU regulation on substances that deplete the ozone layer (1005/2009/EC) goes further than the Montreal Protocol and it has also brought forward the phasing out of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) in the EU.
In 2014, the transport sector contributed 25.5 % of total EU-28 greenhouse gas emissions. The figure decreases to 21 %, if international aviation and maritime emissions are excluded.
Emissions from t ransport (including aviation) in 2014 were 20.1 % above 1990 levels, despite a decline between 2008 and 2013. Emissions increased by 0.7 % compared with the previous year. International aviation experienced the largest percentage increase in greenhouse gas emissions over 1990 levels (+97 %), followed by international shipping (+24 %) and road transport (+17 %).
Emissions need to fall by around two thirds by 2050, compared with 1990 levels, in order to meet the long-term 60 % greenhouse gas emission reduction target as set out in the 2011 Transport White Paper.
According to three different observational records of global average annual near-surface (land and ocean) temperature, the last decade (2006–2015) was 0.83 to 0.89 °C warmer than the pre-industrial average, which makes it the warmest decade on record. Of the 16 warmest years on record, 15 have occurred since 2000. The year 2015 was the warmest on record, around 1 °C warmer than the pre-industrial level, followed by 2014.
The average annual temperature for the European land area for the last decade (2006–2015) was around 1.5 °C above the pre-industrial level, which makes it the warmest decade on record. Moreover, 2014 and 2015 were jointly the warmest years in Europe since instrumental records began.
Climate models project further increases in global average temperature over the 21st century (for the period 2081–2100 relative to 1986–2005) of between 0.3 and 1.7 °C for the lowest emissions scenario (RCP2.6) and between 2.6 and 4.8 °C for the highest emissions scenario (RCP8.5).
All UNFCCC member countries have agreed on the long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 °C compared with pre-industrial levels and have agreed to aim to limit the increase to 1.5 °C. For the three highest of the four RCPs, global average temperature increase is projected to exceed 2 °C compared with pre-industrial levels by 2050.
Annual average land temperature over Europe is projected to increase by the end of this century (2071–2100 relative to 1971–2000) in the range of 1 to 4.5 °C under RCP4.5 and 2.5 to 5.5 °C under RCP8.5, which is more than the projected global average increase. The strongest warming is projected across north-eastern Europe and Scandinavia in winter and southern Europe in summer.
The number of warm days (those exceeding the 90th percentile threshold of a baseline period) have almost doubled since 1960 across the European land area.
Europe has experienced several extreme heat waves since 2000 (2003, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2014 and 2015). Under a high emissions scenario (RCP8.5), very extreme heat waves as strong as these or even stronger are projected to occur as often as every two years in the second half of the 21st century. The impacts will be particularly strong in southern Europe.
In 2014, EU-28 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were 24.4 % below 1990 levels (excluding Land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) and international aviation). The figure is 23 % if international aviation is included.
The Emissions Trading System (ETS) covers about 42 % of EU emissions. In 2014, ETS emissions were 24 % below 2005 levels.
In sectors not covered by the ETS, GHG emissions decreased by 12.9 % compared to 2005.
In 2013, all Member States where below their Effort Sharing Decision (ESD) target. The 2014 data seem to confirm this trend across the EU.
The EU is on track to reduce GHG emissions by 20 % compared to 1990 by 2020.
Global average concentrations of various greenhouse gases in the atmosphere continue to increase.
The concentration of CO 2 , the most important greenhouse gas, increased to 397 parts per million (ppm) in 2014 – an increase of 119 ppm (43 %) compared to pre-industrial levels.
The total concentration of all greenhouse gases, including cooling aerosols, reached a value of 441 ppm in CO 2 equivalents in 2014 – an increase of about 3 ppm compared to 2013, and 34 ppm compared to totals measured more than 10 years ago.
The current total concentration of all greenhouse gases implies that the long-term probability of exceeding the 1.5 °C temperature increase, compared to pre-industrial levels, is already more than 50%. The atmospheric greenhouse gas concentration level that would be consistent with limiting global mean temperature increase to less than 2 °C could be exceeded over the next decades, unless greenhouse gas emissions are significantly reduced.
Since 1990, EU-28 F-gas emissions have experienced significant growth, more than offsetting an intermittent decrease between 1997 and 2001. While PFCs and SF 6 emissions have reduced by a significant degree, a major rise can be observed for HFCs emissions, which have almost tripled since 1990.
In 2013, the net supply of F-gases to the EU declined for the third consecutive year since 2010, both in terms of metric tonnes and CO 2 -equivalents. The 2013 net supply levels are slightly below the low levels of the ‘economic crisis’ year, 2009. EU production appears to have stabilised slightly above 2008 levels after the sharp decline that was observed from 2007 to 2009. Imports of F-gases grew from 2007 to 2008, experienced a dip in the 'economic crisis' year of 2009 and have been on the decline from 2010 to 2012. However, in 2013 imports rose back to 2011 levels. Exports of F-gases have been on the rise since 2009 when expressed in metric tonnes, however, they are still below 2007 levels. Expressed in CO 2 -equivalents, however, 2013 exports dropped slightly.
Context: Fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases) covered by the UNFCCC’s Kyoto Protocol comprise hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF 6 ). These F-gases typically have very long lifetimes in the atmosphere and high global warming potentials (GWPs). F-gases are mostly produced for use in products and equipment in the refrigeration and air conditioning sector, electrical equipment, foams, fire protection or as aerosols etc. Emissions take place mainly due to leakage during the use phase or due to failure to fully recover the F-gases at the end of the product/equipment lifetime. Future F-gas emissions are thus largely determined by (i) present day use of F-gases and (ii) measures to prevent leakage and encourage recovery.
105 million ha., or 16 % of Europe’s total land area (excluding Russia) were estimated to be affected by water erosion in the 1990s.
Some 42 million ha. of land were estimated to be affected by wind erosion, of which around 1 million ha. were categorised as being severely affected.
A recent new model of soil erosion by water has estimated the surface area affected in the EU‐27 at 130 million ha. Almost 20 % is subjected to soil loss in excess of 10 tonnes/ha./year.
Increased variations in rainfall pattern and intensity will make soils more susceptible to water erosion, with off-site effects of soil erosion increasing.
Increased aridity will make finer-textured soils more vulnerable to wind erosion, especially if accompanied by a decrease in soil organic matter levels.
Reliable quantitative projections for soil erosion are not available.
Soil carbon stocks in the EU-27 are around 75 billion tonnes of carbon; around 50 % of which is located in Ireland, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom (because of the large area of peatlands in these countries).
The largest emissions of CO 2 from soils are due to conversion (drainage) of organic soils, and amount to 20–40 tonnes of CO 2 per hectare per year. The most effective option to manage soil carbon in order to mitigate climate change is to preserve existing stocks in soils, and especially the large stocks in peat and other soils with a high content of organic carbon.
On average, soils in Europe are most likely to be accumulating carbon. Soils under grassland and forests are a carbon sink (estimated up to 80 million tonnes of carbon per year) whereas soils under arable land are a smaller carbon source (estimated from 10–40 million tonnes of carbon per year).
The effects of climate change on soil organic carbon and soil respiration are complex, and depend on distinct climatic and biotic drivers. However, they lack rigorous supporting datasets.
Climate change is expected to have an impact on soil carbon in the long term, but changes in the short term will more likely be driven by land management practices and land use change
At the end of 2011, almost all European countries were on track towards their Kyoto targets for 2008–2012. The EU‑15 is on track towards this 8 % reduction target, compared to base-year levels under the Kyoto Protocol.
Projections from EU Member States indicate that their emissions outside the EU ETS will be lower than their national targets set under the Climate and Energy Package. Total EU emissions are projected to fall slightly until 2020. With the current set of national domestic measures in place, Member States are expected to reach a level in 2020 which is 19 % below 1990 levels and close to the 20 % reduction target.
Climate change is having a detectable effect on bird populations at a European scale, including both negative and positive effects. The number of bird species whose populations are observed to be negatively impacted by climatic change is three times larger than those observed to be positively affected by climate warming in this set of widespread European land birds. The Climatic Impact Indicator, which illustrates the impact of climate change on bird populations, has increased strongly in the past twenty years, coinciding with a period of rapid climatic warming in Europe. Potential links between changes in bird populations and ecosystem functioning and resilience are not well understood.
For references, please go to http://www.eea.europa.eu/themes/climate/indicators or scan the QR code.
PDF generated on 27 Mar 2017, 10:52 PM
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