EU agency warns of floods, droughts, fires due to climate change

A woman crosses a makeshift bridge over streets in Unterloiben, Austria on June 4, 2013. Torrential rain and heavy flooding hit central Europe. AFP PHOTO / DIETER NAGL
A woman crosses a makeshift bridge over streets in Unterloiben, Austria on June 4, 2013. Torrential rain and heavy flooding hit central Europe. AFP PHOTO / DIETER NAGL

The European Environment Agency (EEA) on Monday warned of increasing floods, droughts and forest fires across the continent over the coming decades, stressing the need for countries to adapt.

Efforts to limit climate change could help avert the worst impact, the EEA said.

However, its assessments indicate that climate conditions will worsen, “even if global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions prove effective,” the agency said in a press release.

The EEA, an EU agency tasked with providing independent environmental information, has produced a series of maps describing the dangers.

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Coastal regions will be far more threatened by rising water levels, the data shows, particularly cities such as Venice, Naples, Barcelona and Nantes.

Inland, heavy rains will cause more flooding, with most parts of Europe likely to experience up to 35 per cent more rainfall in the autumn and winter, according to the agency.

In southern Europe in particular, droughts will become far more common, lasting longer and increasing competition for water between agriculture, industry and homes, the EEA warned.

Forest fires are predicted to become more widespread, with the biggest increases due in western and central Europe and the worst overall impact expected in southern Europe.

EU lawmaker Pascal Canfin, who chairs the European Parliament’s environment committee, called on the EU and member states to adapt to climate change and test regions’ resilience to climate shocks.

“We must start preparing today to prevent areas from disappearing entirely from our map, because the longer we wait, the harder the shock will be,” Mr Canfin said.

(dpa/NAN)



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