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EEA Report Sounds Heightened Alarm for Urgent and “Closer Cooperation” to Address Climate Change

Assessment reports climate risks are mounting faster than EU’s own counter actions

A newly released climate report penned by the European Environment Agency (EEA) warns that the climate mitigation and adaptation measures of the EU Member States are not sufficient to effectively counter the consequences of climate change. The report definitively names Europe as the fastest warming continent on the planet and that critical levels have already been reached, posing significant threats to its economy and finance, ecosystems, food, health, and infrastructure.

This week, the Copenhagen-based European Environment Agency (EEA) published its first report, the European Climate Risk Assessment (EUCRA), regarding the state of climate change in Europe. Global warming - the main cause of extreme weather events such as heatwaves, prolonged droughts, forest fires, exorbitant rainfall, and rising sea levels - reached new records this year, according to the report: the year 2023 is the warmest in more than 100,000 years. It outlines thirty-six primary climate threats, categorized by level of urgency and risk severity, specific to Europe within five general societal clusters: energy and food security, ecosystems, food, health, and infrastructure. According to the report, European ecosystems are the most vulnerable and have the highest number of and most urgent issues to tackle, while southern Europe is considered the hotspot area most at risk due to stressors caused by outdoor work, summer tourism, agricultural production, and fire.

Although the body recognizes that the European Union (EU) and its member states have made significant strides in comprehending and preparing for the climate risks they confront, actionable policies and implementation is lagging. Many risks identified in the report are deemed 'co-owned' by the EU, its member states, or other governmental tiers – emphasizing a shared burden to address acute threats and protect future generations. To effectively minimize, mitigate, and adapt to likely climate risks in Europe, the EEA assessment underscores the necessity for the entire EU to forge closer cooperation, involving regional and local levels when urgent and coordinated action is imperative, and in most cases, it already is the case. Since current efforts are not enough, the EEA says that “closer collaboration” is pivotal in reversing the damage associated with climate change.

Call for “systems approach”

The authors urge the European Union and its twenty-seven member states to build upon the wealth of knowledge gained over the last decades to find and implement collaborative solutions to aggressively address the impacts of human-induced climate risks. To the EU and its member states, the report recommends a systems-approach to achieve stronger policy actions, improve risk analysis, as well as increase legislation, monitoring, funding, and technical assistance to find new and faster ways of “cooperating across governance levels”. Leena Ylä-Mononen, EEA Executive Director, goes on to warn, “Our new analysis shows that Europe faces urgent climate risks that are growing faster than our societal preparedness. To ensure the resilience of our societies, European and national policymakers must act now to reduce climate risks both by rapid emission cuts and by strong adaptation policies and actions.”

To read the full 425-page report click hier.

About the EUCRA report

The EEA’s EUCRA report builds on and complements the existing knowledge base on climate impacts and risks for Europe, including recent reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (JRC), as well as outcomes of EU-funded research and development projects and national climate risk assessments. The knowledge in this first-of-its-kind assessment is synthesized with the aim to support strategic policymaking.



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