The EU's Climate Commissioner, Connie Hedegaard, has warned that the gap between current global greenhouse gas emissions levels and the levels needed to mitigate against climate change are widening.
During a debate with MEPs on 21 November 2012 she warned that many people had ignored the climate situation by focusing too much on the economic crisis.
"The climate crisis has not miraculously solved itself," she said.
The debate took place ahead of a UN summit on climate change that is due to take place in the Qatari capital of Doha in December.
The summit comes as the international Kyoto protocol on climate change is about to expire.
MEPs say industrialised countries should push for renewal of the protocol, to bridge the gap before a new global treaty on tackling emissions that is due to be in place by 2020.
"There is a degree of urgency. The EU must lead by example," said French Green MEP Yannick Jadot.
The Kyoto protocol, signed in 1997, is designed to fight global warming by setting legally binding targets for countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
The first round of cuts, which only apply to developed nations, expires at the end of this year.
The protocol also created market mechanisms for countries to meet their targets by trading in carbon emissions.
MEPs voted on a resolution setting out their position ahead of the summit during the daily
on 22 November 2012.
to how the plenary sessions work.
on the use of simultaneous interpretations, on the European Parliament's website.