The Impacts and Costs of Climate Change

The Impacts and Costs of Climate Change
The tables below present past trends in Europe's climate, its current state and project possible future
changes.
Table 2. Past climate change impacts at a European Level (Source: EEA 2004)
Change in state of environment Examples of reported impacts Quantified impact
Weather and climate extremes * Catastrophic events: floods, * In Europe 64% of catastrophic
storms, droughts, heatwaves events since 1980 are directly
attributable to weather and climate
extremes.
Weather and climate extremes * Catastrophic events: * In Europe, 25% of catastrophic
landslides and avalanches, events since 1980 attributable to
caused by weather and climate landslides and avalanches.
Weather and climate extremes * Economic losses from * 79% of economic losses caused by
catastrophic events result from catastrophic events result from
these weather and climate weather/climate extremes
extremes (see 2 rows above).
Weather and climate extremes * Deaths from catastrophic * 82% of deaths caused by
events result from these catastrophic events result from
weather and climate extremes. weather/climate extremes (Wirtz
2004)
Trends in weather and climate * Weather and climate related * Annual average frequency of
extremes disastrous events events doubled in 1990s compared
to 1980s (non climatic events,
earthquakes etc, remained stable)
Past trends in weather and * Weather and climate related * In Europe economic losses from
climate extremes disastrous events causing climate and weather related events
economic losses increased in last 20 years from an
annual average below USD 5
billion to USD 11 billion
Disastrous event - flooding * Severe flooding in central * AT, CZ, GE, SK, HU suffered
Europe, August 2002 economic losses of USD 17.3
billion & insured losses of USD
4.1 billion
European air temperature * Increase in tick borne diseases * Increase in tick-borne encephalitis
Europe warmed more than global from higher temperatures - (TBE) in Baltic region and central
average. 0.95 C increase since TBE and Lyme disease (Lyme Europe between 1980-1995.
1990. Temperatures in winter borreliosis) * 85,000 cases of Lyme borreliosis
increased more than those in reported annually in Europe
summer. Greatest warming in
northwest Russia and Iberian
Peninsula.
European precipitation past * Increase in the number of very * Annual precipitation increase in
trends wet days in central and northern Europe by 10-40% during
Annual trends show northern northern Europe. 1900-2000 leading to increased
Europe 10-40% wetter flooding and landslides.
European precipitation past * Severe effects such as more * Droughts of 1999 caused losses of
trends frequent droughts, with more than Euro 3 billion in Spain.
Annual trends show southern considerable impact on
Europe up to 20% drier, agriculture and water
Precipitation decrease in summer of resources.
up to 5% per decade in southern
Europe.
Past glacier retreat * During the melting process, * The hot dry summer of 2003 led to

Glaciers in eight out of the nine there is an increase in the a loss of 10 % of the remaining
European glacier regions are in number of hazardous incidents glacier mass in the Alps.
retreat, which is consistent with the such as breaking glacier lakes,
global trend. falling ice and landslides.
From 1850 to 1980, glaciers in the * Incidents may also cause

AEA Technology Environment, August 2005

Watkiss, Paul; Downing, Tom; Handley, Claire & Butterfield, Ruth. The Impacts and Costs of Climate Change. Oxford, England. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29337/. Accessed December 26, 2014.