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The Rybnik Power Station in Rybnik, Poland on Sept. 20, 2018. Poland gets 80% of its power from coal. Hans Permana / Flickr

After marathon talks in Brussels, the leaders of European Union member states – bar Poland – agreed early Friday to commit to going carbon neutral by 2050.

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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivers a press statement on the European Green Deal at the EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium on Dec. 11, 2019. Xinhua / Zheng Huansong via Getty Images

The European Commission introduced a plan to overhaul the bloc's economy to more sustainable, climate-conscious policies and infrastructure, with the goal of being carbon-neutral by 2050, according to CNBC.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The European Parliament building in Brussels. Andrijko Z. / CC BY-SA 4.0

European Parliament declared a "climate and environmental emergency" Thursday, calling on the European Commission to make sure all legislation and budgets align with the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

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Europe ranks second only behind Asia in terms of e-waste, according to the Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy. Ladislav Kubeš / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Tim Schauenberg

Technician Christopher Olk concentrates hard as he removes the broken drive from a DVD player and pushes it back in again.

"If it's the mechanics or the electronics, I can fix it," explains the 26-year-old, who is working on his Ph.D. in battery technology at Aachen University. "If the chip or the cooling system is affected then I can't do anything, because I'm missing the equipment and spare parts."

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Europe is bracing for a second heat wave in less than a month. TropicalTidbits.com

Europe is gearing up for another extreme heat wave that could set all-time records for several European countries.

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Residents gather to watch a wildfire raging in Catalonia, Spain Thursday. PAU BARRENA / AFP / Getty Images

More than 500 firefighters and soldiers are battling Spain's largest wildfire in two decades as Europe continues to wither under an extreme heat wave, The Guardian reported Thursday.

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The European Union, responsible for almost 10 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions, failed to agree Thursday on a date for achieving carbon neutrality, The New York Times reported.

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Greta Thunberg addresses members of Europe's Parliament Tuesday. FREDERICK FLORIN / AFP / Getty Images

Greta Thunberg, the Swedish 16-year-old who has inspired young people around the world to strike from school over climate change, addressed the European Parliament's environment committee Tuesday, The Guardian reported.

At one point during her speech at the parliament's seat in Strasbourg, Thunberg choked back tears as she discussed the sixth mass extinction.

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An extended version of the Fuxing bullet train at the China National Railway Test Center on Oct. 15, 2018 in Beijing, China. VCG / VCG via Getty Images

By Jeff Turrentine

Is it just us?

Other countries don't seem to have a problem getting their high-speed rail systems on track. This superfast, fuel-efficient form of mass transit is wildly popular throughout Asia and the European Union. Japan's sleek Shinkansen line, the busiest high-speed rail system in the world, carries an estimated 420,000 riders every weekday. In China, the new Fuxing Hao bullet train now hurries more than 100 million passengers a year between Beijing and Shanghai at a top speed of 218 miles an hour, allowing its riders to make the trip of 775 miles — roughly the distance from New York City to Chicago — in about four and a half hours. Spain, Germany and France together have more than 4,500 miles of track dedicated to high-speed rail, over which more than 150 million passengers travel annually.

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Encouraging news on the fight against plastic pollution! Europe is one step closer to banning some of the most common single-use plastics to help protect the environment and reduce marine litter.

Negotiators from the European Parliament and Council reached a provisional agreement on Wednesday to reduce use or eliminate plastic products such as cigarette butts, straws, bottles, cutlery and cotton buds. The European Commission—the EU's executive arm—first introduced the sweeping proposal in May.

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Donald Trump announces his decision to withdraw from the Paris agreement on June 1, 2017. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

As representatives of around 200 countries kicked off the COP24 meeting in Katowice, Poland this week to develop a rulebook for implementing the Paris agreement, a new study looked at how U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw has affected the landmark climate accord. The verdict? The so-called 'Trump Effect' has significantly slowed the momentum of global climate action.

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