To avoid dangerous climate change, the energy policy of the European Union has set a 2 °C [3.6 °F] limit to the temperature rise, compared to pre-industrial levels. Of this, 0.8 °C has already taken place and another 0.5 °C is already committed. The 2 °C rise is associated with a carbon dioxide concentration of 400-500 ppm by volume; as of January 2007 it was 383 ppm by volume, and rising at 2 ppm annually. Unless significant action is taken soon the 2 °C limit is likely to be exceeded.
Strategies for moving to a low-carbon economy include development of new technologies, particularly renewable energy; electric and hybrid vehicles; fuel cells; public transportion; zero-energy buildings; Zero-Net-Energy USA Federal Buildings; energy conservation; carbon taxes; enhancing natural carbon dioxide sinks; population control; and carbon capture and storage. Environmental groups also encourage individual-lifestyle and political action, as well as action by business.
The Kyoto Protocol, covering more than 160 countries and over 55% of global emissions provides an international mitigation framework. The United States, the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter; and Kazakhstan have refused to ratify the treaty. China and India, two other large emitters, have ratified the treaty but are exempt from cutting emissions. International talks on a successor to the treaty, which ends in 2012, have begun. Read more...