Europe Must Prepare for More Deadly Heatwaves, Warns New Report

European Heat waves

According to a comprehensive report released on Monday, Europe should brace itself for a surge in lethal heat waves triggered by climate change. The report highlights that the continent experienced a scorching temperature rise of approximately 2.3 degrees Celsius last year compared to pre-industrial times, making it the fastest-warming region worldwide.

The World Meteorological Organization and the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service outlined the dire consequences of this climate shift in their joint report. These include devastating droughts leading to crop failure, record-breaking sea-surface temperatures, and unprecedented melting of glaciers.

Europe, warming at twice the global average since the 1980s, witnessed its hottest summer in the previous year. Notable countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom have experienced their warmest year.

The global average temperature has risen by nearly 1.2 degrees Celsius since the mid-1800s, resulting in extreme weather events. These include more intense and prolonged heat waves, severe droughts in certain regions, and intensified storms due to rising sea levels.

Also read: Cyclone Biparjoy: A Devastation That Severely Shook the Coastal State of Gujarat

While climate change affects vulnerable populations and the poorest nations disproportionately, its severity escalates worldwide. Rapid warming is particularly evident in regions of the Northern Hemisphere and around the poles.

Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of the WMO, stated that in Europe, the high temperatures worsened severe and widespread drought conditions. This situation fueled violent wildfires, resulting in the second-largest burnt area ever recorded. Additionally, the heatwave caused thousands of excess deaths.

The report “State of the Climate in Europe 2022” reveals that temperatures across the continent increased by 1.5 degrees Celsius between 1991 and 2021. Tragically, more than 16,000 lives were lost last year due to severe heat. At the same time, floods and storms accounted for approximately $2 billion in damages caused by extreme weather events.

Unfortunately, these occurrences cannot be dismissed as isolated or anomalous climate events. Carlo Buontempo, Director of Copernicus, emphasized in the report that these incidents are part of a pattern. The pattern indicates that heat stress extremes will become more frequent and intense across the region.

As highlighted in the report, economies and ecosystems have suffered extensively from rising temperatures.

Also read: 10 Ways to Protect the Environment

Renewable energy sources provide a glimmer of hope amidst these challenges. In a positive development, wind and solar power generated 22.3 per cent of the European Union’s electricity in 2022, surpassing the contribution of fossil gas (20 per cent) for the first time. The report attributes this achievement to several factors, including a significant increase in installed solar power.

Over the last 30 years, Europe has not seen a significant wind or rainfall pattern trend. However, there has been a noticeable increase in sunlight. 2022 recorded the highest amount of solar radiation since records began in 1983.

Leslie Mabon, an environmental systems lecturer at The Open University, responded to the report by emphasizing that it confirms two well-known facts: the severe impacts of climate change in Europe and the availability of renewable energy solutions to combat these effects.

In conclusion, due to climate change, Europe must prepare itself for more frequent and deadly heat waves. Urgent action is required to mitigate the devastating consequences and protect vulnerable populations. Transitioning to renewable energy sources can lead to a more sustainable and resilient future.

Read the data in the form of chart from European Environment Agency.

Tez Pratap

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