Extreme weather cost Europe nearly half a trillion euros so far

(EurActiv, 3 Apr 2019) Floods, droughts, heatwaves and other climate-related extremes caused economic losses of €453 billion between 1980 and 2017, claiming the lives of more than 115,000 people across Europe.

According to data published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) on Tuesday (2 April), the 33 European Economic Area countries have experienced a collective loss of €13 billion a year since the turn of the decade.

Germany, Italy, France and the United Kingdom topped the list of the countries most hard-hit by the damages. France recorded the highest number of fatalities, with 23,415 lives lost since 1980.

A massive 68% of those deaths were caused by what the Agency classes as ‘Climatological – Heatwave events’, while 22% were triggered by ‘Geophysical events’ like earthquakes and landslides.

The nearly half-trillion euros in damages is roughly equivalent to Belgium’s total gross domestic product.

Nearly a third of total economic losses were caused by flood damage and another third were caused purely by storms. The most expensive single events were 2002’s Central Europe flood (€21 billion) and the 2003 drought and heatwave (€15 billion).

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EurActiv, 3 Apr 2019: Extreme weather cost Europe nearly half a trillion euros so far