The Convention on Climate Change sets an overall framework for intergovernmental efforts to tackle the challenge posed by climate change. It recognizes that the climate system is a shared resource whose stability can be affected by industrial and other emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The Convention enjoys near universal membership, with 192 countries having ratified.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations. It is the UN system's authoritative voice on the state and behaviour of the Earth's atmosphere, its interaction with the oceans, the climate it produces and the resulting distribution of water resources.
The main role of the European Commission's Environment Directorate-General (DG) is to initiate and define new environmental legislation and to ensure that agreed measures are put into practice in the EU Member States. The European Union is at the forefront of international efforts to combat climate change and has played a key role in the development of the two major treaties addressing the issue, the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol, agreed in 1997.
The Union is supporting a wide spectrum of projects on the prediction of climate change and its impacts, and on mitigation and adaptation. Operational forecasting, modelling and climate observation systems are included to improve our capacity for documenting ongoing changes. Past climate changes are studied in order to better understand how the various parts of the Earth system interact and to establish a baseline of natural climate variation. Sources and sinks for carbon and nitrogen are studied to understand how carbon sequestration can be promoted.
The programme on global change and health coordinates a Europe-wide interagency network that assesses and monitors the health impact of global environmental changes, evaluates policy options and advocates with Member States on preventive measures and carries out capacity building activities.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) acts as energy policy advisor to 27 member countries in their effort to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for their citizens. IEA's mandate incorporates the “Three E’s” of balanced energy policy making: energy security, economic development and environmental protection. Current work focuses on climate change policies, market reform, energy technology collaboration and outreach to the rest of the world, especially major consumers and producers of energy like China, India, Russia and the OPEC countries.
GRID-Arendal provides environmental information, communications and capacity building services for information management and assessment. Established to strengthen the United Nations through its Environment Programme (UNEP), its focus is to make credible, science-based knowledge understandable to the public and to decision-making for sustainable development.
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.
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