Europe Surpasses Target to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions Five Years Early

The environment isn’t just Donald Trump’s second least favourite e-word – its preservation will ultimately decide whether human beings will continue to roam this earth for centuries to come or if we all die in a raging inferno.

Recognizing this, European leaders set a series of climate and energy targets for the year 2020 in 2007. These included a 20% cut in greenhouse gas emissions (from 1990 levels), deriving 20% of EU energy from renewables, and a 20% improvement in energy efficiency. Legislation was enacted in 2009 to achieve these goals.

Earlier this week, Europe announced it had surpassed its target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions five years early. They’ve plunged to the lowest level ever recorded across the bloc as member states reported an estimated 23% drop in emissions between 1990 and 2014. The EU’s economy, during this time, has grown by 46%.

“We have shown consistently that climate protection and economic growth go hand-in-hand,” said EU climate chief Miguel Arias Canete. “This is a strong signal ahead of the Paris climate conference.”

December’s negotiations in Paris will also offer Canada an opportunity to present itself as a leader on environmental policy, which newly elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has outlined as a priority after a decade that saw us ditch the Kyoto treaty and shield the energy industry from global commitments to cut carbon emissions. Trudeau yesterday invited provincial leaders to join him in Paris to “establish a strong position so that people know that Canada’s years of being a less-than-enthusiastic actor on the climate change file are behind us.”

Canada is on pace to fail in its commitment to cut emissions 17 per cent by 2020 under the Copenhagen Accord, which suggests it may be most beneficial for Trudeau to spend the next 40 days setting environmental targets for 2030.