EU Report: Extreme Weather Cost EU Countries €13.4 Billion Last Year

Written by Camilla Jessen

Apr.22 - 2024 1:32 PM CET

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Photo: Ihor Serdyukov / Shutterstock.com
Photo: Ihor Serdyukov / Shutterstock.com
Extreme weather events in 2023 cost EU countries over 13.4 billion euros and claimed 151 lives.

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Extreme weather events in 2023 led to significant losses for EU countries, with total costs exceeding 13.4 billion euros and 151 lives lost.

Floods, storms, and wildfires caused widespread damage across Europe, as outlined in the "European State of the Climate" report by Copernicus, the EU's climate monitoring agency.

Climate Change and its Impact

Europe is warming at a rate twice as fast as the global average, resulting in more frequent heatwaves, temperature spikes, and severe weather events like floods, droughts, and wildfires. This rapid warming is not only evident on land but also in the ocean, where record-high sea surface temperatures were recorded.

The report notes that extreme weather has extensive consequences for people, animals, and the environment. Floods affected 1.6 million people, storms impacted 550,000, and wildfires affected 36,000 people.

A total of 151 deaths were attributed to weather-related incidents.

The financial impact of extreme weather in 2023 was staggering. The total cost of damages was estimated at 13.4 billion euros, with 81 percent of the costs resulting from flood-related damage. Overall, precipitation levels were about seven percent higher than average, contributing to widespread flooding and property damage.

In the Arctic, the situation is especially critical, with temperatures rising three times faster than the global average. This rapid warming has serious implications for ice cover, permafrost, and ecosystems. The melting ice and sea ice could also impact global climate dynamics, including ocean currents and rising sea levels.

Future Actions

The Copernicus report emphasizes the need for EU countries to implement policies that address current and future climate change challenges. The recommended measures include investing in renewable energy, improving energy efficiency, and building sustainable infrastructure. It also advises integrating climate change considerations into health policies and programs.

To build greater resilience, the report suggests strengthening defenses against floods and wildfires, as well as protecting wildlife and biodiversity. Policymakers are urged to take swift action to mitigate the effects of climate change and reduce the risk of further extreme weather events.

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