Living in a changing climate
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Image © Ursula Bach/City of Copenhagen
The severity of climate change will depend on how much and how quickly we can cut greenhouse-gas emissions released into the atmosphere. Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our times. It is a global problem and concerns us all. The scientific community strongly recommends limiting the rise in global average temperatures and reducing greenhouse-gas emissions to avoid adverse impacts of climate change.
Hans Bruyninckx, EEA Executive Director
The European Environment Agency (EEA) publishes Signals annually, providing a snapshot of issues of interest to the environmental debate and the wider public. Signals 2015 - Living in a changing climate focuses on climate change.
Science shows that we need to reduce global greenhouse-gas emissions substantially in order to avoid the most adverse impacts of climate change. It is also clear that we need to adapt to our changing climate. Even with substantial reductions in our greenhouse-gas emissions, our climate is expected to change to some degree and the impacts of this will be felt across the world, including in Europe. Floods and droughts are expected to become more frequent and intense.
‘The severity of climate change will depend on how much and how quickly we can cut greenhouse-gas emissions released into the atmosphere. Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our times. It is a global problem and concerns us all. The scientific community strongly recommends limiting the rise in global average temperatures and reducing greenhouse-gas emissions to avoid adverse impacts of climate change,’ says Hans Bruyninckx, EEA Executive Director.
Recent research estimates that without adaptation actions heat-related deaths could reach about 200 000 per year in Europe by 2100. The cost of river flood damages could be more than EUR 10 billion a year. Faced with current and future impacts, Europeans need both to mitigate and to adapt to climate change.
Measures to mitigate and adapt to climate change are often considered to be expensive, and are seen as an additional burden on the economy. But European countries are already spending public and private funds on research, infrastructure, agriculture, energy, transport, urban development, social protection, health, and nature conservation. Re-directing our existing expenditure towards climate-friendly and sustainable options can not only help us mitigate and adapt to climate change, but also help create new jobs.
Signals 2015 consists of nine articles, including two interviews. It explains how climate change is currently impacting Europe and how it is expected to impact in the future. Signals also provides information on the main sectors contributing to climate change as well as the EU’s efforts to adapt and mitigate, while taking closer look at investments, soil, oceans and food production in the context of climate change.
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe's environment.
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