Climate Change – Learning from our European Neighbors

The 28 countries in the European Union continue to lead the world fight on climate change when, earlier this month, they announced steps to tighten the screws on carbon trading. Following a year of internal wrangling, an agreement was reached making it more expensive for businesses in the EU to burn fossil fuels. Under the cap-and-trade scheme, companies pay per ton of carbon dioxide they release into the atmosphere, with the pollution certificates traded on the market.

EU Charging Ahead in Efforts to Halt Climate Change

While many around the world argue whether a case for climate change (and in particular, global warming) even exists, the EU is way ahead of the field with its latest efforts to beef up its carbon trading system.

In fact, of the top 10 climate-change countries in the world, eight are within the European Union – incidentally, the world’s largest economy – including the UK, Portugal, Ireland and France. In Europe, there is little argument that climate change is a huge concern. The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, said that he was in no doubt that climate change was to blame for the recent flooding in the UK.

How are the US and Canada Faring?

On this side of the pond, things are not looking quite so rosy. The US recently ranked 43rd and Canada 58th out of 58 on the Climate Change Performance Index. While efforts by the Obama administration to introduce a similar cap-and-trade bill at the federal level were shot down on Capitol Hill, California has been more successful in its efforts. The state’s biggest industrial polluters have been set a limit on the amount of carbon they are allowed to emit.

Looking To the Future

Clearly, we have a long way to go before we can begin to level out the playing field. While the US has reduced greenhouse emissions by 8% under the Obama administration, there is still much to be learned from European counterparts when it comes to addressing climate change and its global impact.

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