Abby Chow / Staff reporter

On May 1, 2004, the European Union made their largest single expansion of countries. As a result, the European Union and its 28 member states are the leading economies in the fight against the current climate crisis.

The European Union, commonly referred to as the EU, is the first major political partnership to build a framework to successfully transition into a low emission economy.

The EU ratified the Paris Agreement October 2016. Currently, there are 194 countries around the world who have committed to following the international treaty, including Canada.

A key element of the Paris Agreement is to develop a bridge between today’s policies and climate neutrality before the end of the century. Furthermore, its intention is to recognize the essential roles in government, industry and economy that contribute to climate change.

Recently, there have been anxieties regarding the collapse of one of the EU’s member states and its potential impact on the global climate policies.

For three decades, the United Kingdom has played an important role in the EU’s climate policies. In fact, the UK has contributed beyond their fair share to the Paris Agreement pledge.

Currently the UK is making their withdrawal from the European Union, in the process known as Brexit.

If the UK were to leave the EU, their commitment to the EU’s climate policies would end. As reported by studies conducted in Europe, the UK has decarbonized faster than any other member state.

Therefore, its successes at cutting emissions would no longer count towards the EU’s overall success rate. From students’ perspectives, the EU’s climate policy has an indirect effect on the Gleneagle community. “Right now, [global climate policies don’t] directly affect staff and students, however, it certainly will in the future,” said Yuwen Zhang, grade 12.

Yu-Heng Lim, grade 10, believes that the Paris Agreement and other global actions should be a priority. “In order for this agreement to have a positive effect, everyone must equally do their part,” said Lim.

Regarding the global policies, Michelle Bennett, science teacher said, “We are on a path forward and we cannot go back. What has happened in the past has already happened. Therefore, [global climate policies] will help reconcile some of the pieces to start working on today and moving forward.”

Climate change is becoming increasingly prominent with protests, politics and new policies taking place. Without the expansion of the European Union in May of 2004, the Paris Agreement would not be possible and evolve into the pledge it is today.

In addition, the loss of the UK’s influence would be a major disadvantage to the European Climate solidarity and the result would be damaging to the EU’s ability to project global leadership.

This decision will leave global citizens wondering what will happen next on the political agenda with Brexit and the Paris Agreement.