NEWS

Europe studies new climate policy

Ever more powerful typhoons, tropical downpours and floods and other natural phenomena that claim tens of thousands of victims and cause immense material damage are largely due to climatic change caused by the greenhouse phenomenon. The European Union is discussing policies to deal with climate change in 2012, when the commitments imposed by the Kyoto Protocol expire. It has invited governments, non-governmental organizations, scientists and all relevant bodies to express their views on the projected measures in a discussion website that will operate until October 31 this year. In spring next year, the EU will evaluate the results of implementing the Kyoto Protocol. The EU is responsible for 15 percent of world emissions. The European Commission will submit all proposals for further measures together with estimates of their cost by the end of 2005. This will be first time the EC will include the cost of non-implementation of the measures – namely the cost of disasters caused by climate change – in its cost analysis of the measures. The EC’s objective in implementing the Kyoto Protocol was to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases – which are responsible for increasing the average temperature of the earth and the ensuing climatic changes – by 8 percent (from 2008 to 2012), compared with the 1990 level. However, new data, coupled with the fact that the success of the measures imposed by the protocol presupposes its implementation by most countries, have overturned calculations about the future effectiveness of the measures. The emission reductions agreed by the protocol are insufficient to halt climate change. Over the past 20 years, the average temperature of the planet has risen by 0.6 degrees Celsius, and scientists predict that by the end of the century the average temperature will have risen by 1.4-5.8 degrees Celsius.