Europe is warming faster than the world average and governments need to invest to adapt to a changing climate set to turn the Mediterranean region arid and the north ever wetter, a study showed on Monday.
Europe’s mountains, coasts, the Mediterranean and the Arctic were most at risk from global warming, according to the report by the European Environment Agency and branches of the World Health Organization and the European Commission.
“Global average temperature has increased almost 0.8 C (1.4 F) above pre-industrial levels, with even higher temperature increases in Europe and northern latitudes,” it said.
Europe had warmed by 1.0 C.
Northern Europe would get wetter this century while more of Europe’s Mediterranean region might turn to desert, based on trends already under way, it said. European heatwaves like in 2003, during which 70,000 people died, could be more frequent.
“Annual precipitation changes are worsening differences between a wet northern part of Europe and a dry south,” it said.
That meant a need to review everything from irrigation to the ability of southern rivers to help cool nuclear power plants.
Among other impacts, seas were rising in a threat to coasts, some fish stocks had moved 1,000 km north in the past 40 years — pushing cod not caught by trawlers away from the North Sea — and two-thirds of Alpine glaciers had vanished since 1850.