Region Forward Blog

Global Fridays: Europe at the helm

Dec 3, 2010


Much of the attention regarding Europe at the moment is undoubtedly focused on the crisis facing some euro-zone countries. However much more positive news is emerging from the continent on the environmental and climate front. As reported at Switchboard European nations have taken the lead at climate talks in Cancun Mexico by making good on their promises to help developing countries reduce their emissions and adapt to some inevitable climate change as laid out in last year’s Copenhagen accord.

This portion of the accord is a sort of deal between rich developed countries – who have been the source of most emissions until this point – and poorer developing countries who will bear most of the initial brunt of the effects of climate change.

The EU is ponying up nearly a 1/3 of the global funding (€7.2 billion or $9.35 billion) for this effort with France Germany and the UK contributing nearly €4.5 billion or about $6 billion in total. This represents a serious commitment for burden sharing related to climate change. As Europe which has largely been ahead of the U.S. in attempting to tackle climate change contends with economic issues it continues to make climate and energy issues areas where it takes the lead.

Also in Mexico this week mayors from 135 cities – in the developed and developing world – agreed to take measures to curtail climate change. As many countries including the U.S. continue to delay significant action on reducing emissions it may be more localized efforts like this that help meet global and RF targets for greenhouse gases.

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