Climate change in Europe


Climate change in Europe has resulted in an increase in temperature of 1.9 °C (2019) in the EU compared to pre-industrial level. According to international climate experts, global temperature rise should not exceed 2 °C to prevent the most dangerous consequences of climate change, without CO2 emissions cut that could happen before 2050.[2][3] Emission reduction means development and implementation of new energy technology solutions. Some people consider that the technology revolution has already started in Europe, since the markets for renewable technology have annually grown.[4]

Increase of average yearly temperature in selected cities in Europe (1900–2017)[1]

The European Union commissioner of climate action is Frans Timmermans since 1 December 2019.[5]

In European Investment Bank's Climate Survey of 2020, 90% of Europeans believe their children will experience the effects of climate change in their daily lives.[6][7] The survey showed a high concern for the climate from the 30 000 individuals surveyed, explaining that a majority of respondents are also prepared to pay a new tax in accordance with climate laws.[6][8] Only 9% of Europeans do not think climate change is occurring, compared to 18% in the United States.[6][9]

33 percent of Europeans surveyed in the European Investment Bank's Climate Survey 2020 - 2021[10] think the biggest challenge their country is facing is climate change.

Greenhouse gas emissionsEdit

A 2016 European Environment Agency (EEA) report documents greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions between 1990 and 2014 for the EU-28 individual member states by IPCC sector.[11][12] Total greenhouse gas emissions fell by 24% between 1990 and 2014, but road transport emissions rose by 17%. Cars, vans, and trucks had the largest absolute increase in CO2 emissions of any sector over the last 25 years, growing by 124 Mt. Aviation also grew by 93 Mt over the same period, a massive 82% increase.

In 2019 European Union emissions reached 3.3 Gt (3.3 billion metric tons), 80% of which was from fossil fuels.[13]

In 2021, the European Parliament approved a landmark law setting GHG targets for 2050. The law aims to achieve carbon neutrality and, after 2050, negative emissions[14] and paves the way for a policy overhaul in the European Union.[15] Under the law, the European Union must act to lower net GHG emissions by at least 55% by 2030 (compared to 1990). The law sets a limit of 225 Mt of CO2 equivalent to the contribution of removals to the target.[14] According to Swedish lawmaker Jytte Guteland, the law would allow Europe to become the first carbon-neutral continent by 2050.[16]

Energy consumptionEdit


The coal consumption in Europe was 7,239 TWh in 1985 and has fallen to 2,611 TWh in 2020. The coal consumption in the EU was 5,126 TWh in 1985 and has fallen to 1,624 TWh in 2020.[17] The height of CO2 emissions from coal in Europe were in 1987 with 3.31 billion tonnes, and in 2019 with 1.36 billion tonnes.[18]

In the climate survey of 2021-2022, half of Europeans say they expect there will be a quota of energy allocated to each citizen in 20 years.[19]

Russia had the most CO2 emissions from coal in Europe in 2019 (395.03 Mt), Germany had the second most CO2 emissions from coal in Europe (235.7 Mt).[20] Iceland's CO2 emissions from coal grew 151%, Turkey's CO2 emissions from coal grew 131% between and Montenegro CO2 emissions from coal grew 13% between 1990 and 2019, the rest of the European countries had a decrease in coal consumption in that period of time.[21]

From 2012 to 2018 in the EU coal fell by around 50TWh, compared to a rise of 30TWh in wind power and solar energy generation and a rise of 30TWh in gas generation. The remaining 10TWh covered a small structural increase in electricity consumption. In 2019 coal generation will be about 12% of the EU's 2019 greenhouse gas emissions.[22][23]

Fossil gasEdit

According to Global Energy Monitor plans to expand infrastructure contradict EU climate goals.[24]


Greenhouse gases are also released through agriculture. Livestock production is common in Europe, responsible for 42% of land in Europe. This land use for livestock does affect the environment. Agriculture accounts for 10% of Europe's greenhouse gas emissions, this percentage being even larger in other parts of the world.[25] Along with this percentage, agriculture is also responsible for being the largest contributor of non carbon dioxide greenhouse gas emissions being emitted annually in Europe.[26] Agriculture has been found to release other gases besides carbon dioxides such as methane and nitrous oxide. A study claimed that 38% of greenhouse gases released through agriculture in Europe were methane. These farms release methane through chemicals in fertilizers used, manure, and a process called enteric fermentation.[26] These gases are estimated to possibly cause even more damage than carbon dioxide, a study by Environmental Research Letters claims that "CH4 has 20 times more heat-trapping potential than CO2 and N2O has 300 times more."[27] These emissions released through agriculture are also linked to soil acidification and loss of biodiversity in Europe as well.[25]

Europe is attempting to take action. The Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) was created, focusing on lowering the amount of greenhouse gas emissions through land use in Europe. [26] Some success was seen, between 1990 and 2016, greenhouse gases emitted through agriculture in Europe decreased by 20%. However, the European Union has a plan to become carbon neutral by 2050. If more policies are not implemented or if there is no dietary shift, it has been concluded the European Union may not reach this goal.[26]

According to the European Green Deal, it is critical to minimize reliance on pesticides and antimicrobials, eliminate excess fertilization (particularly nitrogen and phosphorus), promote organic farming, improve animal welfare, and reverse biodiversity loss. The introduction and successful implementation of sustainable agriculture can assist developing nations improve their food security, as well as strengthening soil and plan carbon sinks globally.[28][29]



Greenhouse gas emissions from shipping equal the carbon footprint of a quarter of passenger cars in Europe. In France, Germany, UK, Spain, Sweden and Finland, shipping emissions in 2018 were larger than the emissions from all the passenger cars registered in 10 or more of the largest cities in each country. Despite the scale emissions, they are not part of emissions reduction targets made by countries as part of the Paris agreement on climate change.[30]

Other greenhouse gasesEdit


Trifluoromethane (HFC-23) is generated and emitted as a byproduct during the production of chlorodifluoromethane (HCFC-22). HCFC-22 is used both in emissive applications (primarily air conditioning and refrigeration) and as a feedstock for production of synthetic polymers. Because HCFC-22 depletes stratospheric ozone, its production for non-feedstock uses is scheduled to be phased out under the Montreal Protocol. However, feedstock production is permitted to continue indefinitely.

In the developed world, HFC-23 emissions decreased between 1990 and 2000 due to process optimization and thermal destruction, although there were increased emissions in the intervening years.

The United States (U.S.) and the European Union drove these trends in the developed world. Although emissions increased in the EU between 1990 and 1995 due to increased production of HCFC-22, a combination of process optimization and thermal oxidation led to a sharp decline in EU emissions after 1995, resulting in a net decrease in emissions of 67 percent for this region between 1990 and 2000.


The decline in methane emissions from 1990 to 1995 in the OECD is largely due to non-climate regulatory programs and the collection and flaring or use of landfill methane. In many OECD countries, landfill methane emissions are not expected to grow, despite continued or even increased waste generation, because of non-climate change-related regulations that result in mitigation of air emissions, collection of gas, or closure of facilities. A major driver in the OECD is the European Union Landfill Directive, which limits the amount of organic matter that can enter solid waste facilities. Although the organic matter is expected to decrease rapidly in the EU, emissions occur as a result of total waste in place. Emissions will have a gradual decline over time.

Impacts on the natural environmentEdit

Temperature and weather changesEdit

An increase in natural disasters and damage to the environment are the biggest climate change-related concerns for Europeans surveyed by the European Investment Bank (2020-2021).

According to European Environment Agency the temperature rose to 1.9 °C in 2019 in 2010 it was 1.7 °C, the temperatures in Europe are increasing faster than the world average. The global temperature change was 0.94 °C in 2010 and rose to 1.03 °C in 2019.[2]

The Arctic sea ice decreased 33.000km2 between 1979 and 2020 per year during the winter and 79.000 km2 per year during the summer in the same period of time. If temperatures are kept below 1.5 °C warming ice free Arctic summers would be rare but it would be a frequent event with a 2 °C warming.[31]

In the Baltic Sea ice melting has been seen since 1800 and with an acceleration happening since the 1980s. Sea ice was at a record low in the winter of 2019-2020.[31]

These extreme weather changes may increase the severity of diseases in animals as well as humans. The heat waves will increase the number of forest fires. Experts have warned that the climate change may increase the number of global climate refugees from 150 million in 2008 to 800 million in future. International agreement of refugees does not recognize the climate change refugees.

The summer of 2003 was probably the hottest in Europe since at latest ad 1500, unusually large numbers of heat-related deaths were reported in France, Germany and Italy. According to Nature (journal) it is very likely that the heat wave was human induced by greenhouse gases.[32]

A study of future changes in flood, heat-waves, and drought impacts for 571 European cities, using climate model runs from the coupled model intercomparison project Phase 5 (CMIP5) found that heat-wave days increase across all cities, but especially in southern Europe, whilst the greatest heatwave temperature increases are expected in central European cities. For the low impact scenario drought conditions intensify in southern European cities while river flooding worsens in northern European cities. However, the high impact scenario projects that most European cities will see increases in both drought and river flood risks. Over 100 cities are particularly vulnerable to two or more climate impacts.[33]

Current/past Köppen climate classification map for Europe for 1980–2016
Predicted Köppen climate classification map for Europe for 2071–2100

Extreme weather eventsEdit

Record meteorological events In Europe.[34]
When Where What Cost
2003 Europe hottest summer in at least 500 years 70,000 deaths
2000 England and Wales wettest autumn on record since 1766 £1.3 billion
2007 England and Wales wettest July on record since 1766 £3 billion
2007 Greece hottest summer since 1891 wildfires
2010 Russia hottest summer since 1500 $15 billion. 55,000 deaths
2011 France hottest and driest spring since 1880 grain harvest down by 12%
2012 Arctic sea ice minimum
Costs are estimates

The summer of 2019 brought a series of high temperature records in Western Europe. During a heat wave a glaciological rarity in the form of a previously unseen lake emerged in the Mont Blanc Massif in the French Alps, at the foot of the Dent du Géant at an altitude of about 3400 meters, that was considered as evidence for the effects of global warming on the glaciers.[35][36][37]

Impact on floraEdit

In the aftermath of the 2003 heat wave, researchers noted how the alpine ecosystems of Italy were affected. Namely, the heat wave "triggered a rapid expansion of vascular plant species at the expense of mosses in peatlands".[38] Peatlands are known to be supreme carbon-storing environments,[39] and thus alterations caused by anthropogenic climate change poses a threat to long-term climate stability.

Impacts on peopleEdit

At least 72% of Chinese, American and European respondents to a 2020−2021 European Investment Bank climate survey stated that climate change had an impact on everyday life.

Health impactsEdit

Heat wavesEdit

The summer of 2003 was probably the hottest in Europe since at least AD 1500, and unusually large numbers of heat-related deaths were reported in France, Germany and Italy. According to Nature, it is very likely that the heat wave was human-induced by greenhouse gases.[32] Because of climate change, 33% of Europeans feel they will have to relocate to a colder or warmer area or nation, according to the European Investment Bank's climate survey in 2020.[6][40]

A study of future changes in flood, heat-waves, and drought impacts for 571 European cities, using climate model runs from the Coupled Model Inter-comparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) found that heat-wave days increase across all cities, but especially in southern Europe, whilst the greatest heatwave temperature increases are expected in central European cities. For the low impact scenario, drought conditions intensify in southern European cities while river flooding worsens in northern European cities. However, the high impact scenario projects that most European cities will see increases in both drought and river flood risks. Over 100 cities are particularly vulnerable to two or more climate impacts.[41]

These extreme weather changes may increase the severity of diseases in animals as well as humans. The heat waves will increase the number of forest fires. Experts have warned that climate change may increase the number of global climate refugees from 150 million in 2008 to 800 million in future. International agreement of refugees does not recognize the climate change refugees.

Most European respondents to the 2021-2022 climate survey conducted by the European Investment Bank agree that policies to fight climate change will improve their quality of life

The heat wave in 2018 in England, which would take hundreds of lives, would have had 30 times less of a chance of happening, without climate change. By 2050, such patterns would occur every 2 years if the current rate of warming continues.[42][43] In the absence of climate change, extreme heat waves in Europe would be expected to occur only once every several hundred years. In addition to hydrological changes, grain crops mature earlier at a higher temperature, which may reduce the critical growth period and lead to lower grain yields. The Russian heat wave in 2010 caused grain harvest down by 25%, government ban wheat exports, and losses were 1% of GDP. Russian heat wave 2010 estimate for deaths is 55,000.[34]

The heat wave in summer of 2019 as of June 28, claimed human lives, caused closing or taking special measures in 4,000 schools in France only, and big wildfires. Many areas declared state of emergency and advised the public to avoid "risky behaviour" like leaving children in cars or jogging outside in the middle of the day". The heatwave was made at least 5 times more likely by climate change and possibly even 100 times.[44]


In 2019 for the first time, cases of Zika fever were diagnosed in Europe not because people traveled to tropical countries like Brazil, but from local mosquitos. Evidence indicating that the warming climate change in the area is the primary cause of this fever.[45]

Public opinionEdit

The majority of individuals in the eastern EU countries are relatively less positive about the influence of climate measures on the employment market. 55% of Eastern Europeans believe that measures against climate change will result in less jobs. In Western Europe, 60% of respondents believe that policies would generate more jobs.[46]

62% of Europeans believe that the green transition will reduce their buying power.[46]

66% of Europeans believe the climate emergency will be a severe problem by the mid-century, and 30% believe that the climate emergency will be under control by 2050.[46]

Europeans believe climate climate change is a threat, with 29% of the EU population expecting to be forced to relocate to another area. People of ages 20–29 are concerned about the potential of having to relocate due to climate challenges.[46]


In the beginning of the 21st century the European Union, began to conceive the European Green Deal as its main program of climate change mitigation.[47] The European Union claims that it has already achieved its 2020 target for emission reduction and has the legislation needed to achieve the 2030 targets. Already in 2018, its GHG emissions were 23% lower than in 1990.[48]

Europeans (and Americans) believe they are more worried about the climate than their governments, as found in the European Investment Bank's climate survey 2021-2022.

Paris AgreementEdit

On April 22, 2016 the Paris Climate Accords were signed by all but three countries around the world. The conference to talk about this document was held in Paris, France. This put Europe in the epicenter of talks about the environment and climate change. The EU was the first major economy that decided to submit its intended contribution to the new agreement in March 2015. The EU ratified the Paris Agreement on October 5, 2015.[49]

In these talks the countries agreed that they all had a long-term goal of keeping global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius. They agreed that global emissions need to peak as soon as possible, and recognize that this will take longer for developing countries. On the subject of transparency the countries agreed that they would meet every five years to set ambitious goals, report their progress to the public and each other, and track progress for their long-term goals throughout a transparent and accountable system.[50]

The countries recognized the importance of non-party stakeholders to be involved in this process. Cities, regions, and local authorities are encouraged to uphold and promote regional and international cooperation.[50]

The Paris agreement is a legally international agreement, its main goal is to limit global warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.[51] The Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC's) are the plans to fight climate change adapted for each country.[52] Every party in the agreement has different targets based on its own historical climate records and country's circumstances and all the targets for each country are stated in their NDC.[53]

National determined goals based on NDC'sEdit

In the case for member countries of the European Union the goals are very similar and the European Union work with a common strategy within the Paris agreement. The NDC target for countries of the European Union against climate change and greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris agreement are the following:[54]

  • 40% reduction in Greenhouse gas emissions until 2030, compared to 1990. This reduction is covered in these four sections;
  1. European Union Emission Trading System
  2. Outside the EU emissions trading system
  3. Land use, land-use change, and forestry (LULUCF)
  4. Domestic institutional legislation and mitigation measure

Strategy to achieve NDC'sEdit

Each country has different ways to achieve the established goals depending on resources. In the case of the European union the following approach is established to support the NDC's climate change plan:[54]

  • Each member state must report land use and subsequently report compensatory measures for the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
  • Targets for improved energy efficiency and an increased amount of renewable energy have been established. Until the year 2030, energy consumption will be improved by 32.5%.
  • The CO2 emission per km must be reduced by 30–37.5% depending on vehicles by 2030
  • Limit sales of F-gas, prohibited products and prevent emissions in existing products with F-gases. This is expected to reduce emissions of F-gases by 66% by 2030 compared to 2014.
  • Multiannual Financial Framework,(MFF), for 2021–2027. MFF will finance climate action, such as policies and programs. MFF shall contribute to climate neutrality by 2050 and to achieving the 2030 climate targets.
  • Within the European Union Emission Trading System (EU ETS) a cap on the maximum allowable amount of emissions established. From year 2021 this will also be applied in aviation. The EU ETS is an important tool in EU policy to reduce Greenhouse gas emission in a cost effective way. Under the 'cap and trade' principle, a maximum (cap) is set on the total amount of greenhouse gases that can be emitted by all participating installations.

A survey conducted by the European Investment Bank in 2020 found that although 45% of EU companies have invested in climate change mitigation or adaptation measures, compared to 32% in the US), fewer companies plan future investment in the next three years. 40% of European companies want to invest in climate initiatives during the next three years. The proportion of investment in 2020 varies from 50% in Western and Northern Europe to 32% in Central and Eastern Europe. The majority of European companies, 75%, say regulatory and tax uncertainty is preventing them from investing in climate-related projects.[55][56][57]

According to their 2020 Municipality Survey, 56% of European Union municipalities increased climate investment, while 66% believe their climate investment over the previous three years has been insufficient.[58][59][60]

According to a study from 2022 while renewables as a whole and specifically hydroelectricity and geothermal energy do reduce emission in European countries, there is a problem with biomass, solar power and wind power as the process of their production also emit big amounts of CO2. The study did not check other greenhouse gases like methane. The authors called to ensure that the energy sources will really reduce emissions.[61]

Climate TargetsEdit

The climate commitments of the European Union are divided into 3 main categories: targets for the year 2020, 2030 and 2050. The European Union claim that its policies are in line with the goal of the Paris Agreement.[62][63] The programm of response to climate change in Europe is called European Green Deal.[47] In April of the year 2020 the European Parliament called to include the European Green Deal in the recovery program from the COVID-19 pandemic.[64]

Targets for the year 2020:

  • Reduce GHG emissions by 20% from the level in 1990.
  • Produce 20% of energy from renewable sources.
  • Increase Energy Efficiency by 20%[65].

Targets for the year 2030:

  • Reduce GHG emission by 55% from the level in 1990.[66]
  • Produce 32% of energy from renewables.
  • Increase energy efficiency by 32.5%.[67]

Targets for the year 2050:

  • Became climate neutral.[62]

Policies and legislation for mitigationEdit

Expectations of impact of stricter climate standards and regulations on EU firms.[68]

There is in place national legislation, international agreements and EU directives. The EU directive 2001/77/EU promotes renewable energy in electricity production. The climate subprogramme will provide €864 million in co-financing for climate projects between 2014 and 2020. Its main objectives are to contribute to the shift towards a low carbon and climate resilient economy and improve the development, implementation and enforcement of EU climate change policies and laws.[69]

In March of the year 2020 a draft of a climate law for the entire European Union was proposed. The law obliges the European Union to become carbon neutral by 2050 and adjust all its policies to the target. The law includes measures to increase the use of trains. The law includes a mechanism to check the implementation of the needed measures. It also should increase the climate ambitions of other countries. It includes a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism,[70] that will prevent Carbon leakage.[71] Greta Thunberg and other climate activist criticized the draft saying it has not enough strong targets[72]

In July 2021 The European Union published several drafts describing concrete measures to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. Those include tax on jet fuel, a ban on selling cars on petrol and diesel by 2035, border tax, measures for increase energy efficiency in buildings and renewable energy.[73]

Climate initiatives, according to 56% of Europeans, are a source of economic growth. 56% of Europeans also believe that climate change mitigation will produce more employment. 61% of Europeans believe that climate change policies will improve their quality of life.[74]

Stern report 2006Edit

British government and economist Nicholas Stern published the Stern report in 2006. The Review states that climate change is the greatest and widest-ranging market failure ever seen, presenting a unique challenge for economics. The Review provides prescriptions including environmental taxes to minimize the economic and social disruptions. The Stern Review's main conclusion is that the benefits of strong, early action on climate change far outweigh the costs of not acting.[75] The Review points to the potential impacts of climate change on water resources, food production, health, and the environment. According to the Review, without action, the overall costs of climate change will be equivalent to losing at least 5% of global gross domestic product (GDP) each year, now and forever. Including a wider range of risks and impacts could increase this to 20% of GDP or more.

No-one can predict the consequences of climate change with complete certainty; but we now know enough to understand the risks. The review leads to a simple conclusion: the benefits of strong, early action considerably outweigh the costs.[76]

Climate emergencyEdit

EU parliament declared climate emergency in November 2019. It urged all EU countries to commit to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. MEPs backed a tougher target of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030. The vote came as scientists warned that the world may have already crossed a series of climate tipping points, resulting in “a state of planetary emergency”.[77] The parliament also calls to end all fossil fuel subsidies by 2020, increase at least twice the payments to the green climate fund, make sure that all the legislation and the European budget will be in line with the 1.5 degrees target, and reduce emissions from aviation and shipping.[78]

Divestment from fossil fuels and sustainable investmentsEdit

The European Investment Bank declared that it will divest almost completely from fossil fuels from the year 2021 and stopping to accept new projects already in 2019[79]

The central bank of Sweden sold its bonds in the provinces Queensland, Western Australia in Australia and the province Alberta from Canada because of severe climate impacts from those provinces[80]

In the end of November 2019, the European parliament adopted resolution calling to end all subsidies to fossil fuels by 2020[78]

In 2019 the European Parliament created rules for identification of sustainable investments. The measure should help achieve climate neutral Europe.[81]

Green recovery from the Coronavirus pandemicEdit

In May 2020, the €750 billion European recovery package and the €1 trillion budget were announced. The European Green deal is part of it. One of the principles is "Do no harm".The money will be spent only on projects that meet some green criteria. 25% of all funding will go to Climate change mitigation. Fossil fuels and Nuclear power are excluded from the funding. The recovery package is also should restore some equilibrium between rich and poor countries in the European Union.[82] In July the recovery package and the budget were generally accepted. The part of the money that should go to climate action raised to 30%. The plan includes some green taxation on European products and on import. But critics say it is still not enough for achieving the climate targets of the European Union and it is not clear how to ensure that all the money will really go to green projects[83]

Nature restoration and AgricultureEdit

In May 2020, the European Union published 2 plans that are part of the European Green Deal: The EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and From Farm to Fork.

In the official page of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 is cited Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, saying that:

"Making nature healthy again is key to our physical and mental wellbeing and is an ally in the fight against climate change and disease outbreaks. It is at the heart of our growth strategy, the European Green Deal, and is part of a European recovery that gives more back to the planet than it takes away."[84]

The biodiversity strategy is an essential part of the climate change mitigation strategy of the European Union. From the 25% of the European budget that will go to fight climate change, large part will go to restore biodiversity and nature based solutions.

The EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 include the next targets:

  • Protect 30% of the sea territory and 30% of the land territory especially Old-growth forests.
  • Plant 3 billion trees by the year 2030.
  • Restore at least 25,000 kilometers of rivers, so they will become free flowing.
  • Reduce the use of Pesticides by 50% by the year 2030.
  • Increase Organic farming.
  • Increase Biodiversity in agriculture.
  • Give €20 billion per year to the issue and make it part of the business practice.

According to the page, approximately half of the global GDP depend on nature. In Europe many parts of the economy that generate trillions € per year, depend on nature. Only the benefits of Natura 2000 in Europe are €200 - €300 billion per year[84]

In the official page of the program From Farm to Fork is cited Frans Timmermans the Executive Vice-President of the European Commission, saying that:

"The coronavirus crisis has shown how vulnerable we all are, and how important it is to restore the balance between human activity and nature. At the heart of the Green Deal the Biodiversity and Farm to Fork strategies point to a new and better balance of nature, food systems and biodiversity; to protect our people's health and well-being, and at the same time to increase the EU's competitiveness and resilience. These strategies are a crucial part of the great transition we are embarking upon."[85]

The program include the next targets:

  • Making 25% of EU agriculture organic, by the year 2030.
  • Reduce by 50% the use of Pesticides by the year 2030.
  • Reduce the use of Fertilizers by 20% by the year 2030.
  • Reduce nutrient loss by at least 50%.
  • Reduce the use of antimicrobials in agriculture and antimicrobials in aquaculture by 50% by 2030.
  • Create sustainable food labeling.
  • Reduce food waste by 50% by 2030.
  • Dedicate to R&I related to the issue €10 billion.[85]


Small businesses in the EU want a clear decarbonization path available to achieve carbon-neutrality.[68]

Climate change threatens to undermine decades of development gains in Europe and put at risk efforts to eradicate poverty.[86] In 2013, the European Union adopted the 'EU Adaptation Strategy', which had three key objectives: (1) promoting action by member states, which includes providing funding, (2) promoting adaptation in climate-sensitive sectors and (3) research.[87]

The study from 15,951 survey participants across 27 European nations has shown "that only respondents who are certain of global warming and believe that it is mostly anthropogenic show a significantly higher willingness to donate to a climate action fund". These results point to the importance of tackling climate denial and better communicating climate science.[88]

Society and cultureEdit


The European Investment Bank's Climate Survey 2020 - 2021 found that in Europe, more people want public transport and electric cars to reduce emissions.[10]

The critics include that European companies, like in other OECD countries, have moved the energy-intensive, polluting, and climate gas-emitting industry to Asia and South America. In respect to climate change there are no harmless areas. Carbon emissions from all countries are equal. The agreements exclude significant factors like deforestation, aviation and tourism, the actual end consumption of energy and the history of emissions. Negotiations are country oriented but the economical interests are in conflict between the energy producers, consumers and the environment.

In the EU, 75% of the population claims they are more worried about the climate crisis than their politicians.[89] 51% of EU citizens cite government inaction as a major difficulty when facing the climate crisis, and 81% cite climate change as the most serious problem of the twenty-first century.[89][90]

Climate change is also a factor when job searching, according to 54% of young Europeans.[89]

As a form of climate action, 42% of Europeans, specifically 48% of women and 34% of men, invest in second-hand clothing rather than buying new. Younger populations, aged 15 to 29, were found more likely to do so than older generations.[89][91][92]

33% of car buyers in Europe will also opt for a petrol / diesel car when purchasing a new vehicle. 67% of them mentioned opting for the hybrid or electric version. In the EU, only 13% of the total population do not plan on owning a vehicle at all.[89][93]

44% of Europeans aged 20–29 fear they could lose their jobs because of climate change.[94]

Europeans expect lifestyle changes to experience great transformation in the next 20 years. 31% of respondents to an EU climate survey[95] believe that most people will no longer have their own vehicle. 63% believe that teleworking will become the norm in the fight against climate change. 36% of respondents believe most people will no longer consume animal products. 48% predict that energy quotas will be individually assigned.[95]

School strike for climateEdit

School strikes for climate became well known when the Swedish teen Greta Thunberg started to strike in the summer of 2018 and starting from September 2018 she began to strike every Friday.[96] The movement started to pick up in January 2019 with mass strikes happened in Belgium, Germany and Switzerland.[97][98][99] In the following months mass strikes were reported in

More firms are planning investments in climate change mitigation as of 2021.[100]

numerous European countries. There were numerous global climate strikes that also took place in Europe on 15 March 2019,[101] 24 May 2019,[102] from 20–27 September 2019 (global climate action week),[103][104] 29 November 2019[105] and 25 September 2020. The strikes during 2020 were limited because of COVID-19.[106]

Extinction RebellionEdit

Extinction Rebellion (XR) was founded in 2018 in the United Kingdom and is a civil disobedience movement. Their first planned action was in London were 5000 demonstrators blocked the most important bridges of the city.[107] The movement quickly spread around Europe.[108][109] In October 2019 there was the first global rebellion with numerous demonstrations in European cities.[110]

By countryEdit

To learn more about climate change by European country, see the following articles:

EU countriesEdit

The European Investment Bank's Climate Survey[10] found that Southern and South-Eastern Europe sees more impact of climate change on everyday life than other locations


At the beginning of the year 2020, major parties in Austria reach a deal, including achieving carbon - neutrality of the country by 2040, produce all electricity from renewable sources by 2030, making a nationwide carbon tax and making a tax on flying, what should making trains more attractive.[111]

In 2020 the latest coal fired power station in the country was closed. Austria became the second country in Europe, after Belgium to become coal free. The goal of achieving 100% renewable electrycity by 2030 was adopted by government[112]


The July 2019 European heat wave affected Belgium heavily, with temperatures over 40°C.
North Sea: Sea Level Risks
Climate change in Belgium describes the global warming related issues in Belgium. Belgium has the 7th largest CO2 emission per capita in the EU.[113] The CO2 emissions have dropped 19.0% since in comparison with 1990 levels.[114] The average temperature has risen 1.9 degrees Celsius since measurements began in 1890, with an acceleration since 1954.[115]


Climate change in Cyprus is predicted to lead to rising temperatures (along with other negative effects of climate change) at a swifter rate than many other areas of the planet.[116] Cyprus is an island nation geographically situated in the Middle East, with low levels of rainfall.


In 2019 Denmark passed a law in which its pledge to reduce GHG emissions by 70% by 2030 from the level in 1990. It also pledged to achieve zero emissions by 2050. The law includes strong monitoring system and setting intermediate targets every 5 years. It includes a pledge to help climate action in other countries and consider climate impacts in diplomatic and economic relations with other countries.[117]

Greenland is an autonomous territory within Denmark. In 2021 Greenland banned all new oil and gas exploration on its territory. The government of Greenland explained the decision as follows: "price of oil extraction is too high,"[118]


Renewable energy in Finland is mainly based on bioenergy from the forests and water power
Climate change in Finland has far reaching impacts on the natural environment and people of Finland. Finland was among the top five greenhouse gas emitters in 2001, on a per capita basis.[119] Emissions increased to 58.8 million tonnes in 2016.[120] Finland needs to triple its current cuts to emissions in order to be carbon neutral by 2035.[121] Finland relies on coal and peat for its energy, but plans to phase out coal by 2029.[122] Finland has a target of carbon neutrality by the year 2035 without carbon credits. The policies include nature conservation, more investments in trains, changes in taxation and more sustainable wood burning.[123] After 2035 Finland will be carbon negative, meaning soaking more carbon than emitting.[124]


The July 2019 European heat wave affected France heavily, with temperatures over 40°C.

Climate change in France has caused some of the greatest annual temperature increases registered in any country in Europe.[125] The 2019 heat wave saw record temperatures of 45.9 °C (114.6 °F).[126] Heat waves and other extreme weather events are expected to increase with continued climate change. Other expected environmental impacts include increased floods, due to both sea level rise and increased glacier melt.[127][128] These environmental changes will further lead to shifts in ecosystems and affect local organisms,[129] potentially leading to economic losses for example in the agriculture and fisheries sectors.[130][131]

France has set a law to have a net zero atmospheric greenhouse gas emission (carbon neutrality) by 2050.[132] Recently, the French government has received criticism for not doing enough to combat climate change, and in 2021 was found guilty in court for its insufficient efforts.[133]


Climate change in Germany is leading to long-term impacts on agriculture in Germany, more intense heatwaves and coldwaves, flash and coastal flooding, and reduced water availability. Debates over how to address these long-term challenges caused by climate change have also sparked changes in the energy sector and in mitigation strategies. Germany's energiewende ("energy transition") has been a significant political issue in German politics that has made coalition talks difficult for Angela Merkel's CDU.[134]

Despite massive investments in renewable energy, Germany has struggled to reduce coal production and usage. The country remains Europe's largest importer of coal and produces the 2nd most amount of coal in the European Union behind Poland, about 1% of the global total.

German climate change policies started to be developed in around 1987 and have historically included consistent goal setting for emissions reductions (mitigation), promotion of renewable energy, energy efficiency standards, market based approaches to climate change, and voluntary agreements with industry. In 2021, the Federal Constitutional Court issued a landmark climate change ruling, which ordered the government to set clearer targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.[135]


Iceland has a target of becoming carbon neutral by 2040.[136] It wants to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by the year 2030.[137]


Climate change in the Republic of Ireland is having a range of impacts. Increasing temperatures are changing weather patterns, with increasing heatwaves, rainfall and storm events.[138] These changes lead to ecosystem on land and in Irish waters, altering the timing of species' life cycles and changing the composition of ecosystems.[139] Climate change is also impacting people through flooding[140] and by increasing the risk of health issues such as skin cancers and disease spread.[141] Climate change is considered to be the single biggest threat to Ireland according to the head of the Defence Forces of Ireland, Mark Mellett.[142]


Population density and altitude above sealevel in Northeast Italy (2010)

In 2019, Italy became the first country in the world to introduce mandatory lessons about sustainability and climate change. The lessons will be taught in all schools, in the ages 6 –19, one hour each week.[143] According to the European Investment Bank climate survey from 2020, 70% of Europeans have either switched to a green energy supplier or are prepared to do so. This ratio is 82% in Italy.[6][144]


CO2 emissions per capita in the European Union. (Our World in Data)

Climate change in the Netherlands is already affecting the country. The average temperature in the Netherlands rose by almost 2 degrees Celsius from 1906 to 2017.[145]

The Netherlands has the fourth largest CO2 emissions per capita of the European Union.[146] These changes have resulted in increased frequency of droughts and heatwaves. Because significant portions of the Netherlands have been reclaimed from the sea or otherwise are very near sea level, the Netherlands is very vulnerable to sea level rise. The Dutch government has set goals to lower emissions in the next few decades. The Dutch response to climate change is driven by a number of unique factors, including larger green recovery plans by the European Union in the face of the COVID-19 and a climate change litigation case, State of the Netherlands v. Urgenda Foundation, which created mandatory climate change mitigation through emissions reductions 25% below 1990 levels.[147][148] At the end of 2018 CO2 emissions were down 15% compared to 1990 levels.[149] The goal of the Dutch government is to reduce emissions in 2030 by 49%.


Climate change in Norway discusses global warming issues that affect Norway, whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula plus the island Jan Mayen and the archipelago of Svalbard. On a per-capita basis, Norway is the world's largest producer, and exporter, of oil and natural gas outside the Middle East.[150] In 2016, 56 new licenses for oil exploration near the Lofoten islands were issued. However, 98% of Norway's electricity demand is supplied by renewable sources, mostly from hydroelectric power, generated using Norway's extensive freshwater reserves.[151] Norway wants to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 partly by investing in projects with emissions reduction abroad. It wants to achieve zero emission in the country by 2050.[152] In the year 2020 Norway pledged to achieve a 50% - 55% reduction in domesticated emissions from the level of 1990 by 2030.[153]


Temperature rise in Sweden's climate (1750–2013)
Climate change in Sweden has received significant public and political attention. Mitigating its effects has been high on the agenda of cabinets of the Governments of Sweden from 1996 through 2021. Sweden aims for an energy supply system with zero net atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.[154] In 2014 and 2016, Sweden was ranked #1 in the Global Green Economy Index (GGEI), because the Swedish economy produces relatively low emissions.[155] Sweden's winter temperature is predicted to increase by as much as 7°C (13°F). This will increase the percentage of precipitation that comes from rain instead of snow.[156] The Baltic Sea could see a surface water temperature increase of up to 4°C (7°F). This will decrease sea ice cover by the end of the century.[156]


Climate change in Spain has caused temperatures to rise in the last few decades and has caused more frequency in heatwaves annually.[157][158]

Non-EU countriesEdit


Ponds due to permafrost thaw
Climate change in Russia has serious effects on Russia's climate, including average temperatures and precipitation, as well as permafrost melting, more frequent wildfires, flooding and heatwaves. Changes may affect inland flash floods, more frequent coastal flooding and increased erosion reduced snow cover and glacier melting, and may ultimately lead to species losses and changes in ecosystem functioning.[159]


Flash floods are predicted to become more frequent as here in Sinop
Climate change in Turkey includes changes in the climate of Turkey, their effects and how the country is adapting to those changes. Turkey's annual and maximum temperatures are rising,[160][161] and 2020 was the third hottest year on record.[162] Turkey will be greatly affected by climate change,[163][164]: 7  and is already experiencing more extreme weather,[165] with droughts[166][167] and heatwaves being the main hazards.[168] Current greenhouse gas emissions by Turkey are about 1% of the global total,[169] and energy policy includes heavily subsidizing coal in Turkey.[170] The Environment Ministry co-ordinates adaptation to climate change, which has been planned for water resources by river basin, and for agriculture.


The EU is trying to support a move away from coal.[171]

United KingdomEdit

Climate change has increased the risk of flooding.[172]
Climate change in the United Kingdom is leading to a range of impacts on the natural environment and humans, including increasing storms, floods, heatwaves and sea level rise. Climate change inaction has been a subject of protest and controversies and various policies have been developed to mitigate its effects. The government has a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by the United Kingdom by 50% on 1990 levels by 2025 and to net zero by 2050.[173][174] In May 2019, Parliament declared a 'climate change emergency', however this does not legally compel the government to act.[175]

Western BalkansEdit

The EU is trying to support a move away from coal.[171]

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External linksEdit

  • Climate change in the EU.
  • Climate Action