Cost of climate change grows steadily in Europe

Flooding in Italy, where extreme climate events have cost €60bn since 1980. [US Army Africa/Flickr]

Extreme climate events cost Europe €400 billion between 1980 and 2013, a report by the European Environment Agency has found. And the cost is rising. EURACTIV’s partner Journal de l’Environnement reports.

“Climate change poses increasingly severe risks for ecosystems, human health and the economy in Europe,” the European Environment Agency’s (EEA) four-yearly report, published on Wednesday (25 January), stated.

Extreme climate events, such as flooding and heatwaves, are among the most obvious effects of climate change. According to the EEA, the combined cost of these episodes to 33 European countries reached €393 billion between 1980 and 2013.

Deaths reported as flash floods hit France, Germany and Austria

At least four people have been killed in flash floods caused by heavy rain lashing France, Germany and Austria.

The single most costly natural catastrophe was the flooding that hit Europe in 2002 (€20bn), followed by the summer heatwave of 2003 (€16bn) and Storm Lothar in the winter of 1999 (€14bn).

Most damage in Germany, Italy and France

The three worst-affected countries in absolute terms were Germany (€79bn), Italy (€60bn) and France (€53bn). In terms of GDP, extreme climate events caused the most damage in the Czech Republic over the 33-year period (0.24%), followed by Croatia (0.2%) and Hungary (0.18%). France’s losses between 1980 and 2013 were worth 0.9% of GDP.

But the bill is growing steadily. From €7.6 billion per year in the 1980s, it rose to €13.7 billion per year in the 2000s. This increase could be down to a combination of rising populations and increased development in at-risk areas, as well as the increasing intensity of climatic events.

Scientists link global warming to England’s rainiest year on record

Senior climate scientists are linking global warming to the UK Met Office's announcement yesterday (3 January) that 2012 was England’s rainiest year since records began. 


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