Europe’s regions are expected to face worsening impacts of climate change over the next decades. A compilation of several existing maps published by the European Environment Agency on 10 February illustrates how drought, heavy rain and flooding, forest fires and sea-level rise could affect some selected regions in Europe, including Central Europe, the Iberian Peninsula, Scandinavia, Brittany and Venice. The maps can be accessed here.
The key issues highlighted are:
Droughts: The greatest increase in drought conditions is projected for southern Europe, where it will increase competition between water users, such as agriculture, industry, tourism and households.
Heavy rain and floods: Climate change is projected to lead to a higher intensity of rain, with projections showing an increase of heavy rain in most parts of Europe in autumn and winter by up to 35 % by the end of 21st century in a high-emissions scenario.
Forest fires: Large forest fires in recent years have affected several regions in northern and western Europe where fires had not been prevalent in the past. The relative increase in fire danger is projected to be particularly large in western-central Europe but the absolute fire danger remains highest in southern Europe.
Sea-level rise and coastal flooding: All coastal regions in Europe have experienced an increase in absolute sea level but with significant regional variations. Sea-level rise, in combination with storm surges, substantially increases the flooding risk in low-lying coastal regions in the coming decades.
A separate report by WWF called Global Futures predicts that flooding and erosion resulting from damage to natural coastal defences could cost the UK around £15 billion per year by 2050.
At a meeting of the London Climate Change Panel last month, two useful campaigns were announced:
- A campaign by the Mayor of London to introduce Cool Spots in urban areas to cater for excessive summer heat. See details here.
- Refill is an award-winning campaign by City To Sea to prevent plastic pollution at source by making it easier to reuse and refill water bottles on the go rather than buying a single-use disposable plastic bottle. See details here.