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The climate

Quotation: Kros, H. 2013: Introduction to the environmental Impact Climate: http://beta.liaise-toolbox.eu/node/1207

Description

Climate change is considered as a major threat to human existence and future development. Since the late nineteenth century, the mean global temperature has increased by 0.4-0.8 °C and the sea level has risen by 10 to 15 cm. The average global temperature is projected to increase further by anywhere between 1.1 ºC and up to 6.4 ºC over the course of the 21st century unless the world takes action to limit the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Indirect knock-on effects of climate change - though differing largely between biomes and regions of the world - comprise:

  • impact of drought and heavy weather events on agriculture;
  • increase of forest fires including effects on air quality;
  • increased probability of food-borne illness;
  • impacts of heat waves on vulnerable habitats and their species populations;
  • contamination of surface water due to extreme rainfall events; and
  • effects of floods and other hazards on physical safety and mental health.

Human influenced climate change is triggered by a concentration change of chemical substances (greenhouse gases – GHG) in the stratosphere through human influence. The greenhouse gas most commonly produced by our activities is carbon dioxide (CO2). The main sources of CO2 in the atmosphere are the combustion of fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) and deforestation. Since the Industrial Revolution, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased by around 37%, and it continues to rise. 
Other greenhouse gases are emitted in smaller quantities than CO2. However, they all trap heat far more effectively than CO2 does, in some cases by a factor of thousands of times, making them also powerful contributors to global warming. Methane is the next most common greenhouse gas after CO2 and one reason behind rising methane emissions is the expansion of intensive livestock farming.
Some substances, such as chlorofluorocarbons, do not 'only' have dangerous impacts on the global climate by trapping heat but also deplete the Earth`s protective ozone layer leading to an increased level of UV radiation. They are being phased out, but in some cases are being substituted by fluorinated gases which can be even more powerful greenhouse gases.
Please find here further information on concrete policies.

This impact area is further specified by the taxonomy terms: Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Emissions of Ozone Depleting Substances and Adaptation to Climate Change.

This text is for information only and is not designed to interpret or replace any reference documents.

Relevant Policies

Roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050 (COM(2011) 112 final) sets out key elements that should shape the EU's climate action helping the EU become a competitive low carbon economy by 2050.
The reduction of fossil fuel use is encouraged through the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol and the EU climate and energy policy package. Energy saving, more efficient energy use and promotion of renewable energies such as wind, biomass, small-scale hydro power, photovoltaic and bio-fuels from organic matter, as well as a stronger international cooperation are essential objectives. 
The 2009 EU energy and climate change package hopes to lead Europe towards a sustainable future with a low-carbon, energy-efficient economy by the "20-20-20" targets to be met by 2020:

  • Cutting greenhouse gases by 20% (30% if international agreement is reached),
  • Meeting 20% of our energy needs from renewable sources,
  • Reducing energy consumption by 20% compared with projected levels through increased energy efficiency.

In protection of the ozone layer, the regulation (EC) No 1005/2009 is the corresponding legislative instrument at EU level, to phase-out ozone depleting substances, which goes beyond the requirements of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.
For more information on EU climate policies, please refer to http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/environment/tackling_climate_change/index_en.htm

Legal Basis for the Commission to act

According to Article 191 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the EU policy on the environment shall contribute to promoting measures at international level to deal with regional or worldwide environmental problems, and in particular combating climate change.

Web Resources 

The European Commission's site on Climate Action: http://ec.europa.eu/climateaction/index_en.htm
The EU Emission Trading System (EU ETS): http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/ets/index_en.htm
The European Environment Agency's site on Climate Change: http://www.eea.europa.eu/themes/climate
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC: http://www.ipcc.ch/
The 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol: http://www.unfccc.int/
The 1985 Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol: http://ozone.unep.org/

Contact

http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/clima/contact_en.htm

Related Terms

Greenhouse Gas Emissions 

Emissions of Ozone Depleting Substances

Adaptation to Climate Change

Publications and applications

Titel Type of practice Updated date
Biofuels Communication Application of a Model or Method 2013-09-05 09:24
Climate, Hydrochemistry and Economics of Surface-water Systems (CHESS): adding a European dimension to the catchment modelling experience developed under LOIS Publication 2013-03-26 12:58
Cross Compliance Assessment Tool (CCAT) Project 2013-02-19 11:25
Environmental Change Impacts on the C- and N-cycle of European Forests: A Model Comparison Study Publication 2014-03-04 18:21
Environmental screening tools for assessment of infrastructure plans based on biodiversity preservation and global warming (PEIT, Spain) Publication 2013-03-26 16:48
European Corn Borer life stage model: Regional estimates of pest development and spatial distribution under present and future climate Publication 2013-12-08 16:57
European Research for Impact Assessment Tools Publication 2014-04-17 14:41
HEXE Project 2013-02-19 11:25
IA Report: Action Plan for Energy Efficiency: Realising the Potential Application of a Model or Method 2013-09-05 10:14
IA Report: Action Plan for Biomass Application of a Model or Method 2013-09-05 11:03
IA Report: Building the Single Market for Green Products: Facilitating better information on the environmental performance of products and organisations (2013) Application of a Model or Method 2013-07-24 12:36
IA Report: Communication - An EU Strategy on adaptation to climate change (2013) Application of a Model or Method 2013-07-23 19:10
IA Report: Communication - Energy Roadmap 2050 (2011) Application of a Model or Method 2013-07-27 12:11
IA Report: Communication concerning the European Union Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region Application of a Model or Method 2013-09-03 12:08
IA Report: Communication demonstrating Carbon Capture and Geological Storage (CCS) in emerging developing countries: financing the EU-China Near Zero Emissions Coal Plant project Application of a Model or Method 2013-09-03 12:25
IA Report: Communication on limiting Global Climate Change to 2 degrees Celsius Application of a Model or Method 2013-09-03 22:24
IA Report: Communication on sustainable coal Application of a Model or Method 2013-09-03 20:22
IA Report: Communication on Winning the Battle against Global Climate Change Application of a Model or Method 2013-09-05 11:40
IA Report: Communication – Energy infrastructure priorities for 2020 and beyond – A Blueprint for an integrated European energy network Application of a Model or Method 2013-08-28 15:45
IA Report: Decision replacing Decision 1692/96/EC on the Community guidelines for the development of the transeuropean network in the field of transport (TEN guidelines) Application of a Model or Method 2013-09-05 12:23
IA Report: Determining transitional Union-wide rules for the harmonised free allocation of emission allowances (2011) Application of a Model or Method 2013-07-26 19:32
IA Report: Directive on the geological storage of carbon dioxide and amending Council Directives 85/337/EEC, 96/61/EC, 2000/60/EC, 2001/80/EC, 2004/35/EC, 2006/12/EC and Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006 Application of a Model or Method 2013-09-03 20:03
IA Report: Directive reviewing existing legislation on industrial emissions - Recast IPPC Application of a Model or Method 2013-09-03 22:37
IA Report: Energy Efficiency Plan 2011 (2011) Application of a Model or Method 2013-07-27 13:30
IA Report: General Union Environment Action Programme to 2020 "Living well, within the limits of our planet" (2012) Application of a Model or Method 2013-07-25 18:26
IA Report: Horizon 2020 - The Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Application of a Model or Method 2013-08-28 14:00
IA Report: Including aviation activities in the scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Community Application of a Model or Method 2013-09-05 10:53
IA Report: Internal market for electricity and gas Application of a Model or Method 2013-09-03 21:53
IA report: Mid-term review on the Sixth Community Environment Action Programme Application of a Model or Method 2013-09-03 22:29
IA Report: Package of Implementation measures for the EU's objectives on climate change and renewable energy for 2020 Application of a Model or Method 2013-09-03 19:42
IA Report: Periodic roadworthiness tests for motor vehicles and their trailers (2012) Application of a Model or Method 2013-07-26 17:40
IA Report: Proposal for a Council Directive on taxation of passenger cars in the EU Application of a Model or Method 2013-09-05 12:14
IA Report: Proposal for a Directive amending Directive 1999/32/EC as regards the sulphur content of marine fuels (2011) Application of a Model or Method 2013-07-28 22:04
IA Report: Proposal for a Directive amending Directive 2003/96/EC restructuring the Community framework for the taxation of energy products and electricity Application of a Model or Method 2013-09-03 21:54
IA Report: Proposal for a Directive amending Directive 2011/92/EU on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment (2012) Application of a Model or Method 2013-07-25 18:31
IA Report: Proposal for a Directive on energy performance of buildings (recast) Application of a Model or Method 2013-09-03 16:54
IA Report: Proposal for a Directive on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure (2013) Application of a Model or Method 2013-07-24 20:59
IA Report: Proposal for a Directive on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources Application of a Model or Method 2013-09-03 16:15
IA Report: Proposal for a Regulation establishing a Registered Traveller Programme (2013) Application of a Model or Method 2013-07-24 13:32
IA Report: Proposal for a Regulation establishing the Connecting Europe Facility (2011) Application of a Model or Method 2013-07-30 12:45
IA Report: Proposal for a Regulation setting emission performance standards for new light commercial vehicles as part of the Community’s integrated approach to reduce CO2 emissions from light-duty vehicles Application of a Model or Method 2013-09-03 11:54
IA Report: Regulation on amending Regulation (EC)1775/2005 on conditions for access to the natural gas transmission networks Application of a Model or Method 2013-09-03 21:56
IA Report: Regulation on guidelines for trans-European energy infrastructure (2011) Application of a Model or Method 2013-07-27 12:50
IA Report: Regulation on type-approval of motor vehicles and engines with respect to emissions from heavy duty vehicles (EURO VI) and on access to vehicle repair and maintenance information Application of a Model or Method 2013-09-03 22:15
IA Report: Regulation setting emission performance standards for new passenger cars as part of the Community's integrated approach to reduce CO2 emissions from light-duty vehicles Application of a Model or Method 2013-09-03 22:43
IA Report: Renewable Energy - a major player in the European energy market (2012) Application of a Model or Method 2013-07-25 18:07
IA Report: Renewable Energy Road Map Application of a Model or Method 2013-09-03 20:22
IA Report: Report on sustainability requirements for the use of solid and gaseous biomass sources in electricity, heating and cooling Application of a Model or Method 2013-08-28 15:56
IA Report: Roadmap to a Single European Transport Area – Towards a competitive and resource efficient transport system (2011) Application of a Model or Method 2013-07-30 01:17
IA Report: Specific provisions for the support from the European Regional Development Fund to the European territorial cooperation goal (2011) Application of a Model or Method 2013-07-30 13:01
IA Report: Strategic EU Energy Review Application of a Model or Method 2013-09-03 21:25
IA Report: Thematic Strategy on Air Pollution Application of a Model or Method 2013-09-05 11:46
IA Report: Type-approval of motor vehicles with respect to emissions and on access to vehicle repair information Application of a Model or Method 2013-09-05 11:23
Impacts of climate change and variability on European agriculture: Results of inventory analysis in COST 734 countries Publication 2013-12-08 15:38
Re-assessment of CO₂ and SO₂ Emissions in Energy Sector by Using LEAP-model: Experiences from Estonian Energy Sector Planning Publication 2014-05-20 09:41
Screening decisions concerning the likely impacts of plans and projects on Natura 2000 sites Publication 2013-12-17 08:21
Socio-economic futures in climate change impact assessment: using scenarios as ‘learning machines’ Publication 2013-03-26 12:45
Socio-economic scenario development for the assessment of climate change impacts on agricultural land use: a pairwise comparison approach Publication 2013-03-22 18:20
Sustainability appraisal for sustainable development: Integrating everything from jobs to climate change Publication 2013-03-26 15:52
The focus of impact assessment (and IAIA) must now shift to global climate change! Publication 2013-03-26 11:24
The Policy-Relevancy of Impact Assessment Tools: Evaluating Nine Years of European Research Funding Publication 2014-07-09 16:32
The role of assessments and institutions for policy learning: a study on Swedish climate and nuclear policy formation Publication 2013-12-11 09:48
Tools for environmental impact assessment process - developing a tool EIA in Poland Project 2013-10-29 13:29
Towards a climate-dependent paradigm of ammonia emission and deposition Publication 2014-12-09 16:42

Content for this term

Title Type Updated date
BIOME-BGC-ZALF Model 2013-11-26 08:29
E3ME Model 2014-04-23 15:36
Integrated Nitrogen Tool across Europe for Greenhouse gases and Ammonia Targeted to Operational Responses Model 2013-11-26 08:29
Intertemporal Computable Equilibrium System Model 2013-11-26 08:29
Jacob, Klaus Expert 2013-03-22 15:39
LINTUL4 crop growth simulation model Model 2013-11-26 08:29
Long range Energy Alternatives Planning System Model 2013-12-16 08:31
Mari Jüssi Expert 2014-03-17 12:26
Modeling Framework for the Health Impact Assessment of Man-Induced Atmospheric Changes Model 2013-11-26 08:29
Nendel, Claas Expert 2013-01-15 19:37
Peterson, Kaja Expert 2014-03-05 09:38
Reidsma, Pytrik Expert 2014-04-08 17:04
Reis, Stefan Expert 2013-10-29 13:28
The climate Impact Area 2014-01-22 16:14
Werntze, Andreas Expert 2014-03-28 11:11
WIOD Computable General Equilibrium Model Model 2014-01-30 14:39
WITCH Model 2013-11-26 08:29