notice that the sea went back to teaching a week ago ended up becoming viral; it is difficult to find someone who has not seen these waves hit a building of the coast of Tenerife, in the Canary islands. The images are a reminder of the impacts of sea level rise and of the damages which in the future will come due to climate change. Europe is played a lot –also in economic terms– in the international battle against global warming.
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The European Union risks losing at the end of the century, the equivalent to 1.9% of its Gross domestic Product (GDP). Or expressed in another way: Europe could suffer annual losses of at least 240.000 million euros if the global warming at the end of the century exceeds three degrees celsius, as indicated by the current projections that is going to happen if the major powers of the planet does not give a swerve in their policies of reduction of greenhouse gases, responsible for global warming as the scientific consensus.
This estimate of losses is collected in the latest monitoring report of the impacts of climate change prepared by the Joint Research Centre. This facility –known by its acronym in English JRC– is the body scientific advisor of the European Commission and is responsible for providing the politicians with information to take decisions, for example, in terms of the fight against global warming.click on picture
Sources of the JRC explained that the losses report refer only to six major areas in which researchers have clear economic impacts. The team in charge of the analysis –consisting of nearly half a hundred specialists– has calculated the losses related to the mortality related to heat waves, floods on the coast, the drop-off in productivity, labor, impacts on agriculture, flooding from rivers and the energy expenditure of the households. And has established two major scenarios: one in which compliance with the Paris Agreement –and the average increase in the temperature of the planet at the end of the century stays below two degrees celsius– and another in which it fails –and the temperature rises above three degrees–.
For the first of the scenarios, the JRC estimated annual losses to the end of the century of 79,000 million euros –a 0,65% of GDP; if more than three degrees centigrade, the losses that are calculated in the report would be multiplied by three, up to 240.000 million euros.
The southern more exposed
If the whole of the European Union will agree that the warming is within the limits laid down in the Paris Agreement, to Spain –that's not even yet have a climate change act– a lot more. Because the southern region of the EU –where they fall Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Cyprus and Malta– will be the one that will suffer the greatest economic impacts.
The analysis of the JRC highlighted that on average the daily temperature in the summer can increase at the end of the century to 4.7 degrees on the iberian Peninsula, more than double the expected, for example, in the United Kingdom.
For the southern area of the EU, the report estimated annual losses of around 4.2% of GDP if it arrives at the scene of the three degrees, more than double the average of Europe. "The south will suffer eight times more impacts than the north", summary sources of the JRC, which stand out as one of the conclusions of this report, the "great asymmetry of geographical impacts that should lead you to act to the southern States. But, interestingly, the three EU countries that increased their emissions of greenhouse gases between 1990 and 2016 are in the southern region. According to the inventories of the UN, while the EU reduced by a whole 24% of its emissions in that period, Cyprus, Portugal and Spain increased by 56.9%, 13.1% and 12.9%, respectively, over those 26 years.
Mortality and heat waves
In the overall calculation of economic losses of the JRC for the EU as a whole, the mortality associated to heat waves, it occupies the first place. "Around half of the losses in the stage of warming high," the report says.
And also in this section, the south leaves a very bad standing. In these moments, the report states that die each year in the EU 2,692 individuals for reasons linked to heat waves. In the best case scenario (a temperature increase of two degrees), that figure would increase at the end of the century until the 57.674 deaths each year. In the worst case scenario (more than three degrees), the number of deaths would increase until the 132.150; and more than 60% is concentrated in the southern region.
Flooding on the coast
The report says a third of europeans living in this time in the gaza strip for the first 50 km of the coast. "If you do not take adaptation measures, damages annually by flooding due to climate change could increase between 20 and 50 times," warns the JRC. For this reason, these experts recommend "adaptation strategies of the coast-to-long-term" to avoid "great economic damage and the displacement of the population."
In these moments, the damage by this type of flooding posed to the year 1,250 million euros in the EU (half of the losses are centered in Uk, France and Italy). In the worst-forecast scenarios –the three degrees– the annual losses by the floods would be raised at the end of the century until the 59.800 million. And more than 2.1 million people will be affected.
"The main cause [of losses ] is the increase in the level of the sea, which in turn increases the magnitude of coastal flooding," says the report. "It is anticipated that the greatest economic damage are to France, Uk and Italy", he adds.
Spain, where these huge waves are a reminder of global warming, the annual losses to the end of the century by such coastal flooding could surpass the 3,000 million euros if it fails the fight against climate change.
A plan of reduction of emissions of long-haul
Brussels is planning to submit this week, the document that will serve for the EU to have a strategy for the long term —until 2050— to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases. The EU has already committed itself to cut at least 40% of its emissions in 2030 with respect to 1990 levels. What you need now is to set a trajectory for long-haul.
A dozen of countries —including France, Italy and Spain— have been sent to the Commission a written statement in which they urge that this strategy set a clear and detailed so that in 2050 the emissions of greenhouse gases are zero. Within that group pressure in favor of climate policies that are more ambitious missing —as has occurred in the last few months— Germany, that a year ago already acknowledged not to comply in 2020 with the goal that I had set for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Prior to the signing of the Paris Agreement, the EU members set a goal for 2050 of an 80% reduction of their greenhouse gas emissions. Now, the signatories of the letter argue that it is necessary to be more ambitious and go to zero emissions in 2050.
The document presented by the Commission, in principle, not be decanted for a single alternative. What is expected is that you offer multiple pathways and that the States end up agreeing to the route to follow.Updated Date: 27 November 2018, 20:30