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Since 1990, EU-27 F-gas emissions have experienced significant growth, more than offsetting an intermittent decrease between 1997 and 2001. While PFCs and SF 6 emissions have been reduced to a significant degree, a major rise is observed for HFCs emissions which have tripled since 1990.
In addition to domestic EU production and sales of F-gases, significant amounts of F-gases are also imported and exported. Imports generally increased over the period 2007–2011, while EU production has stabilised at levels that are around 20 % lower than those reported in 2007. When expressed in metric tonnes, data for the reporting year 2011 show a decrease in production (-5 %), import (-6 %) and intra-EU sales (-12 %) of F-gases compared to the previous year.
Context: Fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases) covered by the UNFCCC’s Kyoto Protocol comprise hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF 6 ). These F-gases typically have very long lifetimes in the atmosphere and high global warming potentials (GWPs). The gases are mostly produced for use in products and equipment in the refrigeration and air conditioning sector, foams, fire protection etc. Emissions take place mainly due to leakage during the use phase or due to failure to fully recover the F-gases at the end of the product/equipment lifetime. Future F-gas emissions are thus largely determined by (i) present day consumption of F-gases and (ii) measures to prevent leakage and encourage recovery..
The global average concentrations of various greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have reached the highest levels ever recorded, and concentrations are increasing. The combustion of fossil fuels from human activities and land-use changes are largely responsible for this increase.
The concentration of all GHGs, including cooling aerosols that are relevant in the context of the 2 o C temperature target, reached a value of 403 ppm CO 2 equivalents in 2010, exceeding the 400 ppm for first time.
The concentration in 2010 of the six greenhouse gases (GHG) included in the Kyoto Protocol has reached 444 ppm CO 2 equivalent, an increase of 165 ppm (around +60 %) compared to pre-industrial levels.
The concentration of CO 2 , the most important greenhouse gas, reached a level of 389 ppm by 2010, and further increased to 391 ppm in 2011. This is an increase of approximately 112 ppm (around +40 %) compared to pre-industrial levels.
The total production and consumption of ozone depleting substances in EEA member countries has decreased significantly since the Montreal Protocol was signed in 1987 - nowadays it is practically zero. Globally, the implementation of the Montreal Protocol has led to a decrease in the atmospheric burden of ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) in the lower atmosphere and in the stratosphere.
Many of the ODS are also potent greenhouse gases in their own right, but as they are governed through the Montreal Protocol, they are not separately regulated under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Thus the phasing out of ODS under the Montreal Protocol has also avoided global greenhouse gas emissions. In 2010, it has been estimated that the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions achieved under the Montreal Protocol was 5 to 6 times larger than that which will result from the UNFCCC's Kyoto Protocol first commitment period, 2008-2012.
The area covered by forests and other wooded land in Europe (39 EEA countries) has increased for many decades.
Forest biomass in the EEA region is also growing, and the average growth rate has increased from 1990 to 2010.
In some central and western areas of Europe, forest growth has been reduced in the last 10 years due to storms, pests and diseases.
Future climate change and increasing CO 2 concentrations are expected to affect site suitability, productivity, species composition and biodiversity, and thus have an impact on the goods and services that the forests provide. In general, forest growth is projected to increase in northern Europe and to decrease in southern Europe.
Ozone is both an important air pollutant and a GHG. Excessive exposure to ground-level ozone is estimated to cause about 20000 premature deaths per year in Europe.
Attribution of observed ozone exceedances, or changes therein, to individual causes, such as climate change, is difficult.
Future climate change is expected to increase ozone concentrations but this effect will most likely be outweighed by reduction in ozone levels due to expected future emission reductions.
Flowering of several perennial crops has advanced by about two days per decade in recent decades.
Changes in timing of crop phenology are affecting crop production and the relative performance of different crop species and varieties.
The shortening of crop growth phases in many crops is expected to continue. The shortening of the grain filling phase of cereals and oilseed crops can be particularly detrimental to yield.
Several large storm surge events have caused loss of life and damage to property in Europe during the past century. The most notable event occurred in 1953 when more than 2 000 people were killed, and there was massive damage to property around the coastline of the southern North Sea.
There is strong evidence that extreme coastal water levels have increased at many locations around the European coastline. However, this appears to be predominantly due to increases in time mean local sea level at most locations rather than to changes in storm activity.
Large natural variability in extreme coastal sea levels makes detecting long-term changes in trends difficult in the absence of good quality long observational records.
Multi-decadal projections of changes in storms and storm surges for the European region currently have high uncertainty. The most recent studies indicate that increases in extreme coastal water levels will likely be dominated by increases in local relative mean sea level, with changes in the meteorologically-driven surge component being less important at most locations.
The transmission cycles of vector-borne diseases are sensitive to climatic factors but also to land use, vector control, human behaviour and public health capacities.
Climate change is regarded as the main factor behind the observed northward and upward move of the tick species Ixodes ricinus in parts of Europe.
Climate change is projected to lead to further northward and upward shifts in the distribution of I. ricinus. It is also expected to affect the habitat suitability for a wide range of disease vectors, including Aedes albopictus and phlebotomine species of sandflies, in both directions.
105 million ha., or 16 % of Europe’s total land area (excluding Russia) were estimated to be affected by water erosion in the 1990s.
Some 42 million ha. of land were estimated to be affected by wind erosion, of which around 1 million ha. were categorised as being severely affected.
A recent new model of soil erosion by water has estimated the surface area affected in the EU‐27 at 130 million ha. Almost 20 % is subjected to soil loss in excess of 10 tonnes/ha./year.
Increased variations in rainfall pattern and intensity will make soils more susceptible to water erosion, with off-site effects of soil erosion increasing.
Increased aridity will make finer-textured soils more vulnerable to wind erosion, especially if accompanied by a decrease in soil organic matter levels.
Reliable quantitative projections for soil erosion are not available.
The warming of the World Ocean accounts for approximately 93 % of the warming of the Earth system during the last 6 decades.
An increasing trend in the heat content in the uppermost 700 m depth of the World Ocean is evident over the last 6 decades. Recent observations show substantial warming also of the deeper ocean (between 700 m and 2 000 m depth).
Further warming of the oceans is expected with projected climate change, but quantitative projections of ocean heat content are not available.
Mortality and morbidity increase, especially in vulnerable population groups, and general population well-being decreases during extreme cold spells and heat waves, as well as above and below local and seasonal comfort temperatures, with different temperature thresholds in Europe.
The number of warm days and nights has increased across Europe in recent decades. Heat waves over the last decade have caused tens of thousands of premature deaths in Europe.
Length, frequency and intensity of heat waves are very likely to increase in the future. This increase can lead to a substantial increase in mortality over the next decades, especially in vulnerable groups, unless adaptation measures are taken.
Cold-related mortality is projected to decrease in Europe due to climate change as well as better social, economic and housing conditions in many countries.
River and coastal flooding affect millions of people in Europe each year. They affect human health through drowning, heart attacks, injuries, infections, psychosocial consequences, and health effects of chemical hazards as well as disruption of services.
Observed increases in heavy precipitation and extreme coastal high-water events have led to more river and coastal flooding in many European regions.
Increases in health risks associated with river and coastal flooding are projected in many regions of Europe due to projected increases in extreme precipitation events and sea level.
Hydro-meteorological events (storms, floods, and landslides) account for 64 % of the reported damages due to natural disasters in Europe since 1980; climatological events (extreme temperatures; droughts and forest fires) account for another 20 %.
Overall damages from extreme weather events have increased from EUR 9 billion in the 1980s to more than EUR 13 billion in the 2000s (inflation-corrected).
The observed damage increase is primarily due to increases in population, economic wealth and human activities in hazard-prone areas and to better reporting.
It is currently difficult to determine accurately the proportion of damage costs that are attributable to climate change. The contribution of climate change to the damage costs from natural disasters is expected to increase due to the projected changes in the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events.
The number of heating degree days (HDD) has decreased by an average of 16 per year since 1980. This helps reduce the demand for heating, particularly in northern and north-western Europe.
Climate change will affect future energy and electricity demand. Climate change is not expected to change total energy demand in Europe substantially across Europe, but there may be significant seasonal effects, with large regional differences.
Fire risk depends on many factors, including climatic conditions, vegetation (e.g. fuel load and condition), forest management practices and other socio-economic factors.
The number of fires in the Mediterranean region has increased over the period from 1980 to 2000; it has decreased thereafter.
In a warmer climate, more severe fire weather and an expansion of the fire-prone area and longer fire seasons, as a consequence, are projected, but with considerable regional variation.
The impact of fire events is particularly strong in southern Europe on already degraded ecosystems.
In the Iberian Peninsula and Italy, an increase in the volume of water required for irrigation from 1975 to 2010 has been estimated, whereas parts of south-eastern Europe have recorded a decrease.
The projected increases in temperature will lead to increased evapotranspiration rates, thereby increasing crop water requirements across Europe.
The impact of increasing water requirements is expected to be most acute in southern Europe, where the suitability for rain-fed agriculture is projected to decrease and irrigation requirements are projected to increase.
Yields of several crops (e.g. wheat) are stagnating, whereas yields of other crops (e.g. maize in north Europe) are increasing; both effects are partly due to the observed climatic warming.
Extreme climatic events, including droughts and heat waves, have negatively affected crop productivity during the first decade of the 21st century, and this is expected to further increase yield variability under climate change.
Crop yields will be affected by the combined effects of changes in temperature, rainfall and atmospheric CO 2 concentration. Future climate change can lead to yield decreases or increases, depending on crop type and with considerable regional differences across Europe.
The thermal growing season of a number of agricultural crops in Europe has lengthened by 11.4 days on average from 1992 to 2008. The delay in the end of the growing season was more pronounced than the advance of its start.
The growing season is projected to increase further throughout most of Europe due to earlier onset of growth in spring and later senescence in autumn.
The projected lengthening of the thermal growing season would allow a northward expansion of warm-season crops to areas that were not previously suitable.
Soil water retention is a major soil hydrological property that governs soil functioning in ecosystems and greatly affects soil management.
There is no clear indication on past trends for water retention across the EU due to a lack of systematic and harmonised data.
Water retention capacity and soil moisture content will be affected by rising temperatures and by a decline in soil organic matter due to both changes in climate and land management.
Projections (for 2071–2100) show a general reduction in summer soil moisture over most of Europe, significant reductions in the Mediterranean region, and increases in the north-eastern part of Europe.
Maintaining water retention capacity and porosity are important to reduce the impacts of intense rainfall and droughts, which are projected to become more frequent and severe.
Soil carbon stocks in the EU-27 are around 75 billion tonnes of carbon; around 50 % of which is located in Ireland, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom (because of the large area of peatlands in these countries).
The largest emissions of CO 2 from soils are due to conversion (drainage) of organic soils, and amount to 20–40 tonnes of CO 2 per hectare per year. The most effective option to manage soil carbon in order to mitigate climate change is to preserve existing stocks in soils, and especially the large stocks in peat and other soils with a high content of organic carbon.
On average, soils in Europe are most likely to be accumulating carbon. Soils under grassland and forests are a carbon sink (estimated up to 80 million tonnes of carbon per year) whereas soils under arable land are a smaller carbon source (estimated from 10–40 million tonnes of carbon per year).
The effects of climate change on soil organic carbon and soil respiration are complex, and depend on distinct climatic and biotic drivers. However, they lack rigorous supporting datasets.
Climate change is expected to have an impact on soil carbon in the long term, but changes in the short term will more likely be driven by land management practices and land use change
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