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Europe is warming twice the average of the planet

Temperatures in Europe have risen twice as high as the average for the entire planet. According to data reviewed by the World Meteorological Organization and the Copernicus Service, the rate of warming between 1991 and 2021 is 0.5ºC per decade.

“No other continent has seen temperatures rise so significantly,” is the simple conclusion of the joint report on the state of Europe’s climate in 2021. “Europe is a living reflection of a warming world,” recalled the Secretary General. WMO, Peter Taalas.

This increase in heat causes climate change and is felt in the daily lives of citizens. In 2021 alone, extreme weather directly affected more than half a million people – killing hundreds. Economic losses, these organizations calculated, reached 50,000 million dollars.

In 2021, 80% of extreme episodes were floods or storms. “Even well-prepared societies are not immune to the consequences of extreme events,” Taalas emphasizes. and that Europe has the resources to put in place warning and adaptation systems to mitigate the shocks. Extreme heat warning plans have ‘saved lives’, work highlights.

Half a century of influence

Records show that from 1970 to 2019, 1,672 climate crisis-related “disasters” were verified in Europe, killing an estimated 159,000 people and causing $470,000 million in damages. If violent rainfall and floods are the most common “disasters” on the continent, heat waves are what damage people’s health the most: according to the report, more than 148,000 people died in those years.

The climate crisis has damaged the health of Europeans “in many ways”. In Europe, the combination of climate change, urbanization and an aging population means that this population is “increasingly vulnerable”.

“Regardless of future levels of global warming, temperatures in all regions of Europe will be above the planetary average,” WMO and Copernicus calculated, taking into account climate inertia caused by global warming. “The frequency and intensity of heat waves, including marine ones, have increased over these decades and are likely to increase regardless of greenhouse gas emission scenarios,” he adds. That is, they will increase because inertia takes a long time to change after reaching a certain level.

Meanwhile, in addition to human health, Europe’s ecosystems and infrastructure are being damaged.

Habitats are being lost, for example grass from wildfires. The 2021 and 2022 fire seasons set records for burned areas across the Mediterranean basin. Transport infrastructure will not withstand the destruction of violent phenomena caused by the climate crisis: “many were built based on historical values ​​for the thresholds of various natural events that do not allow them to withstand the present.”

Source: El Diario





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