A new report from the European Environment Agency states that the effects of climate change are already evident in Europe – and the situation is only going to get worse. The report, titled Climate Change, Impacts and Vulnerabilities in Europe 2012, notes that the past 10 years have been the warmest ever on record, and with an increase in extreme weather, Europe should expect to be hit hard by the effects of climate change.
The report backs up recent studies that have shown a dangerous growth in the “emissions gap”, and the lack of effort made to reduce carbon emissions has been noted as one of the main causes of climate change. Speaking to BBC News, EEA executive director Jacqueline McGlade said: “Every indicator we have in terms of giving us an early warning of climate change and increasing vulnerability is giving us a very strong signal . . . It is across the board, it is not just global temperatures. It is in human health aspects, in forests, sea levels, agriculture, biodiversity – the signals are coming in from right across the environment.”
The report, which was written by over 50 authors from multiple organizations, noted that climate change had “already led to a wide range of impacts on environmental systems and society”. It added that climate change would increase existing vulnerabilities and deepen socioeconomic imbalances in Europe. All of this could lead to billions of dollars in damage caused by extreme weather events.
As part of the EU’s strategy to deal with climate change, it has set a target of limiting the rise in global mean temperature to 2C (3.6F) above pre-industrial levels. It has also stated that it will be aiming to climate-proof its infrastructure. Prof McGlade said all of these measures would be needed if Europe was to survive the effects of climate change. “I think what the European Commission and other parts of the world are finding is that whilst it is important to understand what is happening at the global level, it is what is happening at the regional and local levels that will really determine how economies will weather the storm,” she said.
Thus far, it is estimated that climate change has already cost the continent 13 billions euros in the past decade.
Via BBC News