EU officials set plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

CO2 and other greenhouse gases billow from a smokestack at a factory in China (Climate and Ecosystems Change Adaptation Research University Network/Flickr)
CO2 and other greenhouse gases billow from a smokestack at a factory in China (Climate and Ecosystems Change Adaptation Research University Network/Flickr)

Nick Fetty | October 24, 2014

Officials with the European Union reached a deal early Friday to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the 28-country pact by at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

Additionally, the EU agreed to 27 percent targets for “renewable energy supply and efficiency gains” though some leaders questioned the cost effectiveness of this strategy. This builds upon the EU’s goals for 2020 which aimed for a 20 percent boost in renewables such as solar and wind as well as a 20 percent increase in energy efficiency.

These agreements come on the heels of an international environmental summit which will take place in Paris in November and December of 2015. The 28 countries that comprise the EU account for approximately 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. China produces the greatest amount of greenhouse gases of any single country at 23 percent while the United States accounts for 19 percent. Non-EU member countries such as China and the United States are expected to use these newly set EU goals as a measuring stick when drafting its own plans for reducing carbon emissions.

Earlier this year the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed nationwide goals for reducing greenhouse gases and utilizing more renewable energy in the U.S. by 2030, allowing each state to set and achieve its own goals. Iowa – which ranks second in the country for the amount of wind energy produced – is well on its way to meeting these goals.

Apples and Diphenylamine (DPA)

Photo by Brian Y.; Flickr.
Photo by Brian Y.; Flickr.

The Environmental Working Group recently blogged about apples and DPA, the pesticide applied to apples once they’re harvested to protect them during storage.

DPA is an antioxidant that slows the development of black patches on the skins of picked apples in storage.

This chemical has caused a debate in both the US and EU on whether or not DPA should continue to be used on our produce.

The EU recently restricted DPA to 0.1 part per million, because people would not be at risk with concentrations that low, but some apples, although not sprayed with DPA, can have trace amounts of the pesticide if stored in a warehouse that once used it.

Although the EPA must review pesticides every 15 years to make sure there is no harm to humans, they haven’t reviewed DPA in 16 years.

Purchasing organic apples, organic apple juice, or organic apple sauce, is an easy change to make to reduce the risk of ingesting potentially harmful chemicals.

To read the full story on apples and DPA, click here.

On the Radio: EPA Releases New Pesticide Labels

Photo by Andrew_ww; Flickr

This week’s segments of On the Radio covers the new warning labels that the Environmental Protection Agency has created to help protect bees. Listen to the audio below, or continue reading for the transcript.


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