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Europe is not prepared for climate threats


The extreme heat, droughts, forest fires and floods experienced in recent years will increase in Europe even under optimistic global warming scenarios, affecting living conditions across the continent.

The first publication of the EUA (European Climate Risk Assessment) will help identify policy priorities for climate change adaptation and climate-sensitive sectors. The assessment shows that the adaptation policies and measures implemented in Europe are not keeping pace with the rapidly increasing risk rate. In many cases, gradual adjustment is not enough. Since many of the measures to improve climate resilience are long-term, there may be an urgent need for action even in the face of threats that are not yet serious.

Some regions of Europe are at the center of many climate threats

Southern Europe is particularly at risk from wildfires and the impact of heat and water scarcity on agriculture, outdoor work and human health.

Flooding, erosion and saltwater intrusion threaten low-lying coastal areas of Europe, particularly many densely populated cities.

“Our new analysis shows that Europe faces urgent climate threats that are increasing as our societies evolve, faster than our preparations. To ensure the resilience of our societies, European and national decision-makers must act now to mitigate climate risks. “, through rapid emissions reductions.” as well as strong adaptation policies and measures.” Leena Julia Mononen, Executive Director of the EEA

The many climate threats facing Europe require urgent and immediate action.

The assessment identified 36 key climate risks for Europe, divided into five broad groups: ecosystems, food, health, infrastructure, economics and finance.

More than half of the major climate threats identified in the report require immediate additional action, and eight of these are particularly urgent, primarily to protect ecosystems and people from heat, protect people and infrastructure from floods and wildfires, and ensure the viability of activities.


Almost all threats to ecosystems require urgent or more drastic measures, and threats to marine and coastal ecosystems are considered particularly serious.

The EEA report reiterates that ecosystems provide many services to humans and that these risks can therefore extend to other sectors such as food, healthcare, infrastructure and the economy.


In southern Europe, risks to crops due to heat and drought have reached serious levels, and central European countries are also at risk. In particular, prolonged droughts across large geographical areas pose a serious threat to crop productivity, food security and drinking water supplies.

Part of the solution would be to partially replace animal protein with sustainably grown plant protein, thereby reducing agricultural water use and reliance on imported feed.


Temperature is the most serious and urgent climate-related risk factor for human health.
Those most at risk include certain groups such as field workers exposed to extreme heat, the elderly, and people living in substandard housing or urban heat island areas with high or inadequate cooling capacity. Many tools for mitigating climate-related health risks, such as urban planning, building codes and labor laws, go beyond traditional health policy.


The most common and extreme weather event increases the risk to urbanization and key services in Europe such as energy, water and transport.

Although the threat of coastal flooding is relatively well controlled in Europe, rising sea levels and changing storm patterns can have devastating impacts on people, infrastructure and economic activities.

In southern Europe, heat and drought pose significant risks to energy production, transmission and demand.

Residential buildings also have to adapt to rising temperatures.

Economy and Finance

The European economy and financial system are exposed to numerous climate threats. For example, extreme weather events can increase insurance premiums, jeopardize real estate and mortgage payments, and increase borrowing costs and government spending. The viability of the EU Solidarity Fund is seriously threatened by the floods and forest fires of recent years.

Worsening climate impacts could also widen the gap that private insurance must cover and contribute to greater vulnerability for low-income households.

Closer collaboration required

The EU and its Member States have made significant progress in understanding the climate threats they face and preparing to address them. National climate risk assessments are increasingly being used to design adaptation measures.

However, public preparation is inadequate as policy implementation lags behind rapidly rising risk levels.

Most of the major climate risks identified in the report are “shared” with the EU, member states or other levels of government.

The EEA assessment highlights that the EU and its Member States must work together to manage and mitigate climate risks in Europe and ensure the involvement of regional and local authorities when urgent action and coordination is needed.

There remain many gaps in our knowledge of the key climate risks identified in the EEA report.

According to the report, the EU can play an important role in increasing awareness and responsibility for and management of climate risks through legislation, appropriate governance structures, monitoring, core funding and technical assistance. These new findings will also make a fundamental contribution to the further assessment of climate risks in Europe.

The Eucra-EEA report builds on existing evidence on climate impacts and risks for Europe, including the final reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (MGAIC), Copernicus (C3S) and the European Commission’s Joint Research Center (JRC (JRC (JRC (JRC ( JRC (JRC (JRC (JRC (JRC (JRC (JRC (JRC) (JRC))) and the results of research and development of EU and domestic climate risk estimates.

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