A House of Lords Committee warns that devastating climate change effects are likely unless governments, industries and citizens worldwide take action together.

The report by the EU Sub-Committee on the Environment and Agriculture examines the EU's strategy to control greenhouse gas emissions.

The Chairman of the Committee, Lord Renton of Mount Harry said:

"Overall we're very impressed by the EU's commitment to tackle climate change, particularly its innovative carbon emissions trading scheme. The EU is leading the world but it will have to step up the action. The EU must persuade its Member States to set high realistic national goals to reduce CO2 emissions. We also urge the EU to include aviation in its scheme as a matter of great urgency."

"The stark truth is that this is a global problem which unsolved is likely to produce truly catastrophic effects. Only sustained global action will provide a solution."

"Individuals need to change their behaviour. The EU can lead by example but the impetus must be on citizens to consider how they contribute to global warming - and make changes."

"The Russian Duma's decision to ratify the Kyoto Protocol is a momentous step forward but it is only one step towards solving a global problem. We now urge the UK Government to do everything in its power in 2005 − when it holds the presidencies of the EU and the G8 simultaneously − to persuade reluctant countries to commit to concrete action on climate change."


1. The members of European Union Sub-Committee D (Environment and Agriculture) who conducted this inquiry were:

Baroness Billingham

Lord Carter

Lord Crickhowell

Lord Haskins

Lord Lewis of Newnham

Lord Hunt of Chesterton (co-opted for the inquiry)

Lord Livsey of Talgarth

Baroness Maddock

The Countess of Mar

Earl Peel

Lord Renton of Mount Harry (Chairman)

2. The report is published by the Stationery Office: The EU and Climate Change, Lords Select Committee on the European Union, 30th Report, Session 2003-04, HL Paper 179, ISBN 010 400547 5, price £13.50. 

3. The Committee welcomes the establishment of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme in January 2005. The Europe-wide scheme will set a cap for the carbon dioxide emissions of thousands of large-scale companies, requiring them to purchase "allowances" of CO2 for every tonne emitted above their cap. However, the Committee are concerned that the limits on emissions set by some European governments have been too low.

4. The report examined a wide range of topics including: governmental and intergovernmental action, the EU emissions trading scheme, transport, other policy areas, the EU and the international community.

5. Aviation emissions are the fastest growing source of emissions. The Government's 2003 White Paper The Future of Air Transport sanctioned an increase that will allow UK airport passenger numbers to rise from 180 million per annum in 2000 to 470 million in 2030.

6. Individuals can help control climate change in a variety of ways. Switching off unused lights and appliances, walking or cycling instead of driving for short journeys and purchasing energy-efficient cars and refrigerators are obvious examples.

7. In a separate press release the Committee focus on Aviation and Climate Change.

For further information contact:

Nicolas Besly (Clerk to the inquiry) on 020 7219 4930.

For embargoed copies of the report or requests for interviews with Lord Renton of Mount Harry, contact:

Jillian Bailey (Press & Publicity Officer, Committees) on 020 7219 8659.