IPCC report shows growing risks from already-present climate change

News Published 31 Mar 2014 Last modified 17 Jul 2017
2 min read
Photo: © Roman Hobler
Climate change is already having substantial and widespread impacts around the world, according to the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Drawing on a larger body of evidence than ever before, it highlights a wide range of risks in vital areas such as food supply, human health and economic development.

We urgently need to reduce global emissions to avoid the most extreme impacts. The window for action is closing fast.

Hans Bruyninckx, EEA Executive Director

Hans Bruyninckx, Executive Director of the European Environment Agency said: "Climate change is now visible in Europe and in all other regions of the world. As the report notes, the world is ill-prepared for the changes we have already put in motion, so we need to adapt. In addition, we urgently need to reduce global emissions to avoid the most extreme impacts. The window for action is closing fast."

Risks for Europe include:

  • Increased risk of coastal flooding, erosion and economic losses across Europe due to accelerating sea-level rise
  • Increased risk of inland flooding in many river basins due to projected increases in heavy rainfall
  • Increased economic, ecological and social impacts due to stronger and more frequent heat waves, including health impacts, decreasing labour productivity, crop losses, ecosystem decline and increasing risk of wildfires in southern Europe
  • Increased water restrictions due to significant reductions in water availability, particularly in southern Europe


The report from the IPCC Working Group II (WG II) assesses the impacts of climate change, while also considering the vulnerability and exposure for both humans and the natural world to these impacts. It also explores how the world can adapt to a changing climate.

The report is the second part of the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report, which brings together thousands of scientists from across the world to present an objective and complete assessment of current information.

The EEA also carries out its own assessments, for example on climate change impacts and adaptation. The messages from these earlier EEA assessment reports are in line with the latest IPCC report. The EEA also manages the Climate-ADAPT web portal which brings together information on climate change adaptation from a huge variety of organisations and projects across Europe. While the risks highlighted in the IPCC report may seem daunting, many countries, regions and cities are taking action to adapt to climate change, according to some information on the portal.

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