Greenhouse gas emissions

Eurostat launched a report showing the progression of the European Union towards the 2020 social and economic targets.

The report highlights the main achievements of  EU 2020 targets
The report highlights the main achievements of EU 2020 targets

2020 is only three years from now and, surely, a lot has been already accomplished. Still there’s so much left to do in such short time. One major point raised by Eurostat is that he European Union lacks cohesion between its member States when it has to deliver better levels of employment and productivity while reducing the impact on the environment.

Europe 2020 targets cover five areas of concern: Employment, Research & Development, Climate Change & Energy, Education and Poverty Reduction. Each member state has its own national target within the common targets. By analyzing the data, Eurostat, the statistical office of the EU, produced a report called “Smarter, greener, more inclusive?”, in which it details the Unions accomplishments since 2008, as well as it outlines the programs major trends.

The report thus highlights the “substantial progress” made in the area of climate change and energy, through the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption, combined with an increase in the use of renewable sources of energy. Positive developments have been made also in education, through an increased tertiary education and a reduced number of early leavers from higher education.

The areas where progress was limited were employment and R&D expenditure, while poverty reduction has reached poor results since 2008.

When analyzing each EU Member State data, Eurostat shows there’s still a lack of cohesion among the 27 countries. When it comes to reducing greenhouse gases emissions, for example, States as Portugal and Denmark have surpassed their targets on energy consumption and efficiency when France and Italy are still far from honoring their commitments and are hardly likely to do so by 2020.

From the poverty reduction perspective, only a few countries, like Austria and Bulgaria, have shown a slight development, while Spain and Greece are struggling to reach the 2020 targets. Currently, 23% of the EU population faces the risk of poverty or social exclusion, while employment rates among females have risen since 2008, inducing a vulnerability of this gender group.

Access the full report here

All 2020 targets are directly or indirectly related to the UN Sustainable Development Targets and are part of the EU commitment to the social and economic inclusion of its population.

Horyou is the Social Network for Social Good, which connects, supports and promotes social initiatives, entrepreneurs, and citizens who help the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to build a more harmonious and inclusive world. We invite you to Be the Change, Be Horyou!

The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Patricia Espinosa, UNFCCC Executive Secretary
The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Patricia Espinosa, UNFCCC Executive Secretary

The Conference of the Parties – COP – is getting more exposure by the year as the effects of man-induced climate change is becoming ever more evident. The Paris agreement last year, endorsed by all parties, was a clear call to all governments involved to quick action; COP 22, held this November in Marrakech, on the African continent, highlighted the parties’ commitment to the urgency of appropriate solutions and implementation of effective policies. In an international press conference, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon praised the High-Level plenaries’ work and expectations, as well as the resulting resolutions to act now to reduce the effects of global warming.

“Climate change is a reality; emissions continue to increase and time is running against us”, he urged. Recalling that 2015 was the hottest year ever registered in history, he warned that 2016 will probably be even hotter, based on the signs that can be seen in the Antarctic and Artic continents. “No country, no matter how powerful, is immune to climate change”, he added.

The UN Secretary General however expressed his strong belief that the international community can move forward in time, and that the discussions in Marrakesh, after the Paris agreement that came into force in a record time are a good indication of that hopeful outcome: “A global meeting around the climate that was once unthinkable is now unstoppable”.

Asked about the US President elect declarations questioning the Paris Agreements and his intention to repeal them, Mr Ban Ki-Moon said that the international community, including American corporations, states and cities, have understood the severity of the effects of climate change and are moving forward putting emissions reductions policies into place, no matter what. He believes that low carbon economy is the policy of the future, and relies on the US President elect reputation for being a talented businessman to understand the urge to invest in smart climate projects as profitable ventures. “There are market forces that are already acting. And there is no plan B”, he declared adamantly.

The UN Secretary General was confident and optimistic about the outcomes of COP22 – and mentioned the Kingdom of Morocco as a committed country to put policies into force, as well as a key player and one of the main investors in Africa in renewable energies. As for the message that he addressed to the global community, he vowed that leaders have moral and political responsibility and show that they are all united.

Written by Vivian Soares

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