By Humphrey Carter
IT has been the hottest June in 50 years and the hottest July in the past 30 years has ended in the Balearics, but the continuing heat wave is gripping most of Europe, sparking a fresh European Union climate and energy debate. Europe's recent hot weather has been attributed to climate change by the World Meteorological Organization.
The EU has kicked off a new debate on climate and energy policy beyond 2012 when the current Kyoto Protocol target ends at the informal Council of Environment and Energy Ministers in Montecatini, Italy. One proposal is that long-term climate and energy policy should stick to the goal of limiting climate change below a 2 degree Celsius increase in temperature. Such a two degree increase would mean more frequent and intense extreme weather events such as droughts and floods and 50 to 120 million more people at risk from hunger. Further support has come from the World Wildlife Fund which is backing further long-term EU policies which would help Europe achieve its climate goals and provide a global lead in the longer term battle against climate change.
The WWF has proposed that the European Union should aim for 25 per cent of all energy to be renewable by 2020, a logical extension of the current existing 12% target for 2010. Another target the WWF would like to see the European Community reach is a one percent annual reduction in energy consumption within the community.
The potential in Europe for energy savings through energy efficiency is enormous, and in this area even the US are doing a better job in some respects. A WWF source said “to fight climate change, industrialized nations must reduce carbon pollution dramatically.
The European Union is the global leader on combatting climate change and needs to adopt policies now to cut emissions further.” The EU supported the 2 celsius threshhold target in the Kyoto Protocol negotiations.
What is more, this week the World Meteorological Organisation issued an unprecedented statement, highlighting record extremes in weather and climate occurring all over the world in recent weeks, linking them directly to climate change.


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