Europe faces an increasing threat of floods, droughts, heavy rains and forest fires, the European Environment Agency warned on Monday, pointing to the need for countries to adapt and become aware of the consequences of climate change over the next few decades.
The actions taken by various bodies could mitigate the threat, but even if such efforts are effective, climate change will still have relatively severe consequences, noted the Agency, which published a number of maps illustrating its position.
Coastal regions face the greatest threat from rising sea water, especially cities like Naples, Venice, Barcelona and Nantes. Nor will hinterland areas be spared since heavier rains – rainfall has increased by up to 35% in autumn and winter – will cause more and more floods.
Drought will affect mainly Southern Europe, where they will be more frequent and longer-lasting, causing problems in the distribution of water resources among farmers, industrialists and households. The region, like Central and Western Europe, will also be severely affected by forest fires, leading to increased aridity.
Euro-parliamentarian Pascal Canfin, head of the Environment Committee in the European Parliament, called on Member States to take adaptive measures immediately and to test the various regions’ resilience to the upheavals these changes represent.
“We need to prepare today to prevent the disappearance of entire regions,” he warned. “The longer we wait, the harder the impact will be.”