As the climate crisis accelerates, Europe is warming faster than any other region, according to a new State of the Climate in Europe report from the World Meteorological Organization.
The WMO report comes ahead of the UN’s international climate summit in Egypt and is one of a series of reports in recent weeks that show how the world is off track on its climate goals. Not only are countries missing the mark in their efforts to reduce planet-warming fossil fuel emissions, but measurements show that temperatures are already rising rapidly.
The global temperature has already risen by about 1.2 degrees since the industrial revolution, and scientists have warned that this temperature should be limited to just 1.5 degrees to avoid the most severe impacts of the climate crisis. Some continents are feeling it increase more than others.
Wednesday’s report shows that temperatures in Europe have risen more than double the global average over the past 30 years – at a rate of about 0.5°C per decade.
A live image of a warming world
Recent reports show how rising temperatures in the region are fueling extreme weather.
In the year to July, the number of forest fires in the European Union quadrupled the 15-year average. A deadly, record-breaking heat wave in the UK has taken a toll on public health and crippled infrastructure. An exceptional drought hit the continent this summer, drying up some of the world’s most economically important rivers. And that drought that came just after some of the most destructive floods Europe has ever seen.
In 2021, the last full year covered by Wednesday’s analysis, more than half a million people were directly affected by weather events fueled by climate change.
The extreme weather caused economic damage in excess of $50 billion. And accelerating warming caused alpine glaciers to lose 30 meters of ice thickness from 1997 to 2021, the report notes.
“Europe presents a live picture of a warming world and reminds us that even well-prepared societies are not safe from the impacts of extreme weather events,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in an advance on the report. . “This year, like 2021, large parts of Europe have been affected by extensive heat waves and drought, fueling wildfires. In 2021, exceptional floods caused death and devastation.”
Accelerated warming caused alpine glaciers to lose 30 meters of ice thickness from 1997 to 2021, the report notes. And in Greenland, which is covered by the WMO’s regional analysis, rain first fell in 2021 in the summit season at the top of the ice sheet — part of a melting trend that has accelerated sea level rise.
“European society is vulnerable to climate variability and change, but Europe is also at the forefront of the international effort to mitigate climate change and develop innovative solutions to adapt to the new climate that Europeans will have to live with,” said Carlo Buontempo, director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service, in a statement.
Taalas said in his advance that while Europe’s pace in cutting global warming emissions has been “good”, its ambition on that front “should be increased further”. The report notes that greenhouse gas emissions declined by 31% between 1990 and 2020.
The bloc aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% from 1990 levels by 2030.
“As the risks and impact of climate change become increasingly apparent in everyday life, the need and appetite for climate intelligence grows, and rightly so. With this report, we aim to bridge the gap between data and analytics to provide science-based, yet accessible, ‘decision-ready’ information across all industries, across all professions,” said Buontempo.
Source: CNN Brasil
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