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Facing higher climate risk, European Commission readies new strategy

The European Commission on Tuesday, March 12, 2024, say it will publish a new strategy to fight climate change threats after a stark report outlined the growing danger posed to the European Union.

Leena Ylä-Mononen
European Environment Agency (EEA) Director, Leena Ylä-Mononen

“Our new analysis shows that Europe faces urgent climate risks that were growing faster than our societal preparedness,’’ European Environment Agency (EEA) Director, Leena Ylä-Mononen, said.

“To ensure the resilience of our societies, European and national policymakers must act now to reduce climate risks both by rapid emission cuts and by strong adaptation policies and actions.’’

The first EEA climate risk assessment found that multiple areas, from public infrastructure and finances to health and environment were in danger.

Some were in greater peril than previously thought from extreme heat, wildfires and worse flooding.

“Europe is the fastest warming continent in the world.

“Extreme heat, once relatively rare, is becoming more frequent while precipitation patterns were changing.

“Downpours and other precipitation extremes were increasing in severity, and recent years have seen catastrophic floods in various regions,’’ the report said.

The report found that there was an increased drought and rising heat not only endangers crop production in southern Europe but place central European countries at risk too.

Rising heat also poses a threat to energy transmission with heat impacting power lines and droughts affecting energy production in nuclear power plant systems.

Flooding could also impact energy production systems in southern Europe.

The EEA assessment called on EU member states to work together at a regional and local level to tackle climate change risks with precautionary measures.

Previewing the forthcoming strategy, a spokesman for the commission said the environment agency has given a very clear warning and very clear call to action of what’s to come.

However, Ronan Palmer, an economist from the climate change think tank E3G warned that EU countries could struggle to find the unity to support struggling countries in the south of Europe.

“Let’s just think of how the present politics in the EU is going to deal with it,’’ he said.

He said this during the EEA report and the uncertainty facing the bloc’s response.

“All those loving, austere people in the north of Europe, Finland, Sweden and Denmark, they’re not going to come rushing out with money to their friends in southern Europe,’’ he added.

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