Extraordinary weather events, changed amounts of precipitation
Heavy rains and other extreme weather events are an increasingly frequent phenomenon. This causes floods, water quality is worsening, and in some areas water resources are also reduced.
Consequences for Europe
Southern and Central Europe has been increasingly cope with heat waves, forest fires and droughts.
The Mediterranean is experiencing an increasingly dry climate, making it even more vulnerable to droughts and fires.
Northern Europe records much more precipitation, floods in winter could become a common phenomenon.
Urban areas, where four-fifths of Europe’s inhabitants now live, are exposed to heat waves, floods and rising sea levels, but are generally poorly prepared to adapt to climate change.
Consequences for developing countries
Poor developing countries are among the most affected by climate change. The inhabitants of these countries are heavily dependent on their natural environment, but they have no means to cope with climate change successfully.
The risk to human health
Climate change is already affecting human health:
In some regions, the number of deaths associated with heat waves has increased; in other regions, the death rate associated with very low temperatures has decreased.
Changes are also noticeable in the incidence of water-borne infections and diseases transmitted by vectors.
Costs for society and the economy
The damage caused by the changed climate to the property and infrastructure and to human health means high costs for society and the economy.
For example, over the years from 1980 to 2011, floods affected more than 5.5 million people and brought more than EUR 90 billion of direct losses to the economy.
In particular, sectors that are heavily dependent on certain temperature and precipitation, such as agriculture, forestry, energy, tourism.
Risk for nature
Climate change is so fast that many animals and plants are difficult to adapt.
Numerous land, freshwater and marine species have already moved to new places. If global average temperatures continue to rise unchecked, more and more plants and animals will be threatened with extinction.
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