Extreme weather events have cost Europe

Extreme weather events have cost Europe


The European Environment Agency has announced that catastrophic floods and other extreme weather events have cost Europe about half a trillion euros in four decades, with the worst-hit countries being Germany, France and Italy. The highest economic cost is caused by floods, and most victims are caused by heatwave.

In this context, the cost of human lives has been devastating: it is estimated that between 90,000 and 142,000 people lost their lives due to weather events and climate events between 1980 and 2020, with the vast majority of victims being caused by waves. heat, transmits TO Vima.

What does the data show?

Data released last week by the European Environment Agency (EEA) does not show a clear upward trend from previous decades in terms of the impact of the climate crisis. This is due to the fact that the economic effects tend to be mainly related to some severe phenomena – over 60% of the financial losses were caused by only 3% of the weather phenomena during this period – and such phenomena can break out anywhere, causing different consequences. every time.

Wouter Vanneuville of the European Environment Agency, one of the study’s coordinators, said: “There is no clear pattern for the most extreme phenomena – for the most part, they remain random. But the adaptation is underway and has an impact. “

There is a need for investment in infrastructure

In the future, he said, the fact that losses are not a clear increase should not make people relax, but on the contrary, it remains important to adapt the infrastructure and prepare for extreme weather events, which are likely to it becomes more frequent and severe as climate change advances and temperatures rise.

In his view, “The reason we do not see a trend is not that climate change is not real, but that we are doing a lot of things to mitigate its effects. More and more countries are implementing adaptation strategies, “he said.

Countries should continue to invest in adaptation, he said, as protection against the climate crisis varies from country to country in Europe.

“Even if we achieve emissions neutrality by 2050, we will need to adjust to limit the impact,” he warned.

The biggest weather threats

Recently, the worst economic effects have been caused by hydrological phenomena – mainly floods – which account for 44% of economic losses, while in second place are meteorological phenomena – mainly storms – which account for about 39%, in depending on the database used.

In this way, the EEA collected data on financial losses from insurance companies and other commercial sources, each following a slightly different methodology, which meant that the estimated loss for the period under review ranged from € 450 billion to € 520 billion. billion, according to the database. Only a quarter (23%) of the period’s losses concerned insured assets, despite the fact that the percentage varies greatly from country to country.

For example, in Denmark and the Netherlands, more than half of the losses were covered by insurance policies, while in Lithuania and Romania the percentage was around 1%.

The EEA has estimated that financial losses for Greece are between 7.8 and 10.4 billion euros, while deaths are estimated at between 2,567 and 4,618.

But Switzerland, Slovenia and France also had the highest per capita losses during that period, while the largest losses in terms of their area were recorded by Switzerland, Germany and Italy.