Tag: European Union

Will Europe deliver on its Paris climate promises?

EU presents detailed ‘next-steps’ assessment

Global warming map February 2016
As global temperatures surge to record highs, countries are trying to figure out how to implement the Paris climate agreement.

By Bob Berwyn

The global climate change agreement reached in Paris late last year may not be signed, sealed and delivered just yet, but the European Union is determined to maintain the momentum and goodwill generated at the summit. Earlier this month, the European Commission completed an assessment of the deal aimed at determining what the EU must do to implement the agreement.

“We have the deal. Now we need to make it real,” said EU Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete. “For the EU, this means completing the 2030 climate and energy legislation without delay, signing and ratifying the agreement as soon as possible, and continuing our leadership in the global transition to a low-carbon future.” Continue reading “Will Europe deliver on its Paris climate promises?”

EU air quality regulations save thousands of lives each year

Cutting pollution improves public health


Staff Report

People everywhere like to complain about excessive government regulation, and the European Union is no exception. But it’s clear, from a new University of Leeds study, that air quality rules in the EU have saved thousands of lives in recent decades.

The research, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, shows that EU policies have led to a 35 percent reduction of fine particles in the atmosphere over the period 1970 to 2010, which has improved public health across Europe, preventing about 80,000 premature deaths each year. Continue reading “EU air quality regulations save thousands of lives each year”

Refugee stream intensifies; 400 deaths already in 2016

2,000 people per day trying to cross the Mediterranean to safety

Refugees wait to cross from Slovenia to Austria at Spielfelden in Nov. 2015. Does this picture represent the common European principles of dignity, solidarity and human rights that the European Union was founded upon? @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

As the conflict in Syria reaches new levels of brutality, the flow of refugees from the region toward Europe has accelerated, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. By latest count, more than 80,000 refugees and migrants arrived in Europe by boat during the first six weeks of 2016, more than in the first four months of 2015, despite wintry weather and rough seas, the UNHCR officials said Friday.

Already this year, more than 400 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean. Right now, about 2,000 people are trying to cross the waters each day. Last year, the numbers didn’t reach this level until July.

“The majority of those arriving in January 2016, nearly 58 percent, were women and children … one in three people arriving to Greece were children as compared to just 1 in 10 in September 2015,” UNHCR’s chief spokesperson Melissa Fleming said during a press briefing in Geneva. Fleming said more than 91 per cent of those arriving in Greece come from the world’s top ten refugee producing countries, including Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. Continue reading “Refugee stream intensifies; 400 deaths already in 2016”

Are global CO2 emissions leveling off?

When will global CO2 emissions peak?

EU achieves big cuts; U.S. still largest per capita emitter

Staff Report

Global CO2 emissions slowed dramatically the past few years, potentially signalling the wane of the fossil fuel era, according to a new report from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre.

The carbon tally shows that after a decade when CO2 emissions grew at about 4 percent annually, the pace slowed significantly in 2012 (0.8 percent), 2013 (1.5 percent). Continue reading “Are global CO2 emissions leveling off?”

Global warming: New EU research projects frequent life-threatening heatwaves

It’s all but certain that global warming will result in more frequent life-threatening heatwaves.

How hot will it get?

Staff Report

FRISCO — Life-threatening heatwaves like the blazing Russian summer of 2010 will occur as often as every two years across southern Europe, Africa and the Americas if global warming continues at its present pace.

Climate scientists already know that more heatwaves are one of the most certain consequences of more heat-trapping pollution in the atmosphere, and a new index developed by the European Union’s Joint Research Center provides a way to compare heat waves over space and time. It takes into account both the duration and intensity of heat waves and can serve as a benchmark for evaluating the impacts of future climate change. Continue reading “Global warming: New EU research projects frequent life-threatening heatwaves”

Congress tries to thwart EU action on airline emissions

U.S. airlines don’t want to play by EU rules, and Congress has their back.

Bill would allow U.S. airlines to disobey duly passed carbon cap regulations

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Congress didn’t accomplish much the past few months, but in one of its last acts before recessing for the upcoming campaign season, the U.S. Senate did manage to throw a monkey wrench into European Union plans to try and cap greenhouse gas emissions from passenger jets.

That’s symbolic for a Congress that has been focused primarily on obstruction for the past two years, and shows how U.S. politicians are out of touch with the global move to try and tackle global warming. That’s probably why the bill was was passed under cover of the night — at 2 a.m. Saturday, to be exact, when nobody was looking. Continue reading “Congress tries to thwart EU action on airline emissions”

Climate: Airline carbon politics heating up again

American airlines could be banned from participating in a carbon reduction program under a new law passed by the Senate commerce committee.

Senate committee passes bill that could block U.S. airlines from joining an EU carbon-reduction plan

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — While much of the world is trying to find ways to reduce greenhouse gas pollution from the commercial air travel, U.S. politicians seen intent on trying to stymy progress in the airline sector.

The Senate Commerce Committee this week passed a bill (S.1956) that would give the U.S. secretary of transportation authority to ban U.S. airlines from participating in the European Union’s Emissions Trading System if he thinks it serves the public interest. The bill does not ban  U.S. airlines from participating in the EU system.

“Passage of this disappointing and short-sighted bill today seems only to decrease the odds of action at the international level by calling into question the status of the one lever that actually moved the International Civil Air Organizationto have serious discussions after 15 years of inaction – the EU Emissions Trading System,” said Annie Petsonk, international counsel for Environmental Defense Fund.

“This bill now ups the pressure on the Obama administration to produce a solution at ICAO. We are happy to see the text at least encouraged international negotiations at ICAO, which we believe hold the key to a global agreement to reduce aviation emissions.

“Legislation that blocks American companies from obeying the laws of the countries in which they do business is almost unprecedented in U.S. history, showing up most recently when Congress barred American firms from suborning apartheid in South Africa,” Petsonk said. “How disconcerting that airlines, which are spending significant funds touting their environmental friendliness, are acting as though an anti-pollution law is as grievous as a massive human rights violation.”