EU underprepared as climate change risks mount, draft report says

(Reuters, 7 Mar 2024) Europe is in urgent need of stronger measures to prepare healthcare systems, farming and critical infrastructure for increasingly severe climate change, a draft report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) said.

As the hotter planet unleashes more heatwaves, drought and flooding, the European Union is developing its first Europe-wide analysis of climate-related risks to try to ensure future EU policies and spending take them into account.

A draft of that analysis, seen by Reuters, revealed the mounting cost of climate change. Economic losses from weather and climate-related extremes in EU countries exceeded 650 billion euros ($708.11 billion) from 1980 to 2022, the report said. Major incidents, included 2021 floods in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, which led to costs of 44 billion euros, and flash floods in Slovenia last year that caused damage estimated at more than 10% of the country's GDP. The draft, which could still change before its publication, expected next week, urged the EU to integrate climate risk into budgets and policies across the economy - in the short term, and beyond 2050.

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Reuters, 7 Mar 2024: EU underprepared as climate change risks mount, draft report says