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Climate change affects us all and is accelerating. Its impacts will become even more severe if the increase in global temperature is not kept below 1.5°C. The EU and its Member States are taking important steps to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change.
EU's climate targets at a glance
EU’s greenhouse gas emissions dropped last year, but accelerated efforts still needed
Greenhouse gas emissions dropped by two percent last year across the European Union, compared to 2021 levels according to estimates in the latest European Environment Agency (EEA) ‘Trends and Projections’ report.
However, despite gains made in emissions reductions, renewable energy and energy efficiency, the report cautions that accelerated action is urgently needed to meet the EU’s ambitious climate and energy targets.
Our climate is changing. Find out what Europe is doing to adapt.
What causes climate change?
By burning fossil fuels, producing goods, cutting down forests, and farming livestock, Earth’s average temperatures are heating up. These activities release massive amounts of greenhouse gases into our atmosphere, which increases the greenhouse effect and causes global warming. There are four main types of greenhouse gases created by human activity:
- Carbon dioxide, stemming mainly from transport, coal, oil, deforestation and natural gas burned to generate heat and electricity;
- Methane primarily from livestock waste management and fugitives from coal, oil and gas operations;
- Nitrous oxide from fertiliser use;
- Fluorinated gases from manufacturing and industry.
Is Europe on track towards climate resilience? Status in 2023
Climate risk assessments that take account of threats like heatwaves, droughts, floods and wildfires are increasingly being used to inform and improve national adaptation policies according to the latest European Environment Agency (EEA) assessment of national adaptation actions.
Heatwaves, droughts, floods and increasing wildfires were the top extreme weather events reported by national authorities. Many countries also reported that they expected an increase of frequency and intensity of these events.