The global environmental problem of prior concern is climate change. It will bring about economical, social and environmental impacts in all societies. Once again, those who will primarily suffer are the poor countries whose infrastructure doesn’t allow them to fortify themselves against natural disasters. The range of impacts from climate change imposed to the present and future generations, adds a new dimension to the issue of human rights. Our choices endanger the rights of the future generations.
A continuous and coordinated effort from the worldwide community is being needed towards clean energy, alternative transport means, technological and behavioural changes.
According to the Kyoto Protocol, all countries are required to reduce the emissions which contribute to the greenhouse effect. The European Union has committed itself under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce its greenhouse emissions at about 8% between 1990 and 2008-2012. The report on the EU’s actions for energy efficiency and for the promotion of renewable energy sources hasn’t brought about the prospective results. The actions had very little effect in relation to the extent of the problem because they were not integrated in all policies. The reduction of greenhouse gases has to be the main parameter for the transport, agriculture and energy policies.
On the one hand, the countries acknowledge that it is only through international cooperation that climate change and its imposed impacts can be tackled, while on the other hand, they insist on maximizing their profit through the procedure of cooperation. The scientific uncertainties on the issue, the different approaches towards the principles of equity, the different assessment of cost / benefit from the reduction of greenhouse gases and the different targets set by each country, make difficult the process of common decision making. The context within which the problem of climate change is being examined is also different: if it is restricted to the reduction of greenhouse emissions and in planning the necessary adjustments for our societies from the repercussions brought about, or if further discussion arises on the issue of world economy and its effects on growth for the developing countries.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
The European Climate Change Programme (ECCP)
The Kyoto Protocol
Union of Concerned Scientists
World Meteorological Organisation
National Observatory of Athens: Institute of Environmental Research and Sustainable Development Climate Change site