Europe ‘must hurry’ on climate change

Europe must step up its preparations for the continent’s changing climate, a report out today warns.

The European Environment Agency says adaptation strategies need to be accelerated if the increased risk of floods and droughts, losses of biodiversity, threats to human health and economic damage is to be addressed properly.

It cites numerous ways in which climate change is already threatening Europe, including glacial retreat in Europe’s mountain systems, flooding from the melting ice-caps and increased water demand in the Mediterranea.

“This report makes strikingly clear that many regions and sectors across Europe are vulnerable to climate change impacts,” the EEA’s executive director Jacqueline McGlade said.

“Implementation of adaptation actions has only just started. We need to intensify such actions and improve information exchange on data, effectiveness and costs.”

Later this year the European Commission will publish its white paper on adaptation, expected to be a landmark document framing a strategy for the continent.

The EEA wants it to be better informed with action to address what it calls “key information gaps”.

It says monitoring and reporting of climate data should be undertaken in more detail, recommending a European clearing house on climate change impacts.