EU Climate Change

The ecotron in Hoge Kempen National Park (BE) exposes large ecosystem samples (“mesocosms”) to highly controlled climate conditions, and monitors their response. © Photo S. Petrosillo

Climate Change is on the political agenda, at all levels. The first priority of the current European Green Deal is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. But what is the legislative framework ? All too often, the links between biodiversity and climate change are not enough explored. But they’re two sides of the same coin! How Protected Areas can contribute to mitigate and adapt to Climate Change? Nature is the solution, we need Protected Areas more than ever. Read our article about Climate Change and Protected Areas.

What is the legal framework ?

At international level

The topic of environment and climate change is not new on the global scene. There are challenges that know no boundaries and where international cooperation is crucial. Today, the Paris Agreement is the reference document on climate change. It is based on the principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities in order to assure a just transition. The UN agency in charge of compliance with the treaty and hosting the COPs is the UNFCCC.

The Sustainable Development Goals 2030 also set out the international development agenda, highlighting the interconnection of the challenges by proposing 17 objectives. The fight against climate change is considered through the objective 13. Other objectives are related to biodiversity (objective 14 and 15).

At EU level

With the ambition to lead globally, the European Union proposes the Green Deal framework stating the objective of climate neutrality by 2050. This objective requires a transition in all sectors.

Saxon-Bohemian Switzerland DE/CZ © V.Sojka

EU Climate Law

On the 5th of March 2020, the European Commission has proposed a new legislation to complement the existing framework to tackle Climate Change by irreversibly enshrining the 2050 carbon neutrality target in the law. This legislative act is in line with the Green Deal and the Union’s desire to position itself as a global climate leader. The objectives of the EU Climate Law :

  •  To set the long-term direction promoting constant progress on climate action and enshrining the 2050 climate neutrality objective in EU law
  • To enhance action on adaptation to climate change
  • To create a governance process to keep the EU on track towards reaching the climate neutrality objective
  • To review the existing greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for 2030 to have a more balanced reduction pathway from 2020 to 2050. The EU’s nationally determined contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030 compared to 1990. One of the aim of the EU Climate Law is to increase this  ambition moving  from 40% to 50-55% of CO2 reduction.

Member States have to provide national strategies and adaptation plans. The EU will evaluate them and propose amendments if they lack ambition. Every five years, starting in September 2023, the EU will evaluate the progress of each Member State and more generally the Union’s progress in reducing emissions in order to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

 EU Climate Pact 

Within the framework of the Green Deal, the European Commission launched a Climate Pact “to give everyone a voice and space to design new climate actions, share information, launch grassroots activities and showcase solutions that others can follow.” EUROPARC members should participate in the Climate Pact initiative. Take part of the process! For more information, visit the EU webpage.

Encourage broad societal engagement on climate and environment through a range of activities.

NATURA 2000 & Climate Change

The European Union seized the issue on the links between climate change and biodiversity through a Guidelines on Climate Change and Natura 2000. The European Commission explored how to deal with the impact of climate change and on the management of Natura 2000 network of areas of high biodiversity value. Here is the “supplement” of the document.

To learn more about Natura2000, we invite you to visit the dedicated webpage!

Saxon-Bohemian Switzerland DE/CZ © V.Sojka

What is EUROPARC doing? 

At EUROPARC Federation, we are committed to tackle the climate change crisis with our work in Protected Areas. EUROPARC aims to raise political awareness of the current challenges and to propose concrete solutions to fight against the decline of biodiversity and climate change. In addition to following the European policy process, we act through different ways:

The Climate Change Task Force is currently developing a policy paper, to raise awareness on climate change and Protected Areas and also to provide recommendations to policymakers. Stay tuned! This work is developed in the framework of the LIFE Natur’Adapt Project. It is a project that aims to develop tools and methods to enable managers to include climate change adaptation in their Protected Areas, by creating a network of practitioners and also by enhancing awareness among all actors. Have a look at the project Natur’Adapt to inspire you ! 

In addition, EUROPARC Spain launched a practical manual on Adaptation to Climate Change in Protected Areas for managers. This methodology will help you to include Climate Change Adaptation  in planning and management of Protected Areas. Have a look at it !