Europe is warming faster than the global average due to climate change, with Ireland expected to get wetter and windier in the coming decades.
While the pace of climate change increases, the effects appear to be worse than expected, according to a report that compiles the findings of some of the world’s biggest institutions, including the World Bank, the IMF, the UN, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Northern Europe is warming at the fastest pace followed by Central Europe and then the south, and all much faster than the global average, according to the report compiled by Climate Action Network Europe, the largest coalition of organisations working on climate change in the EU.
Giving a country-by-country forecast for the first time, the report says Ireland is expected to get warmer, wetter and windier.
“In the short term there will be more intense storms and rainfall with greater flooding in rivers and on the coast where most of the country’s cities and large towns are situated.”
Along the East, where most of the population lives, there will be increasing water shortages, according to the report.
Ireland’s emission levels decreased slightly last year. The country is ranked 12th among 58 countries that together are responsible for more than 90% of global energy-related emissions and the country is considered “good”. Ireland’s position has fallen from 9th place in 2011.
The country is responsible for emitting 0.1% of global emissions while, together with Malta and Belgium, it was considered to be among the best for renewable energy production.
The weather in European countries is continually setting new records as a result of climate change — the hottest, driest, wettest, coldest, windiest countries are experiencing the effects in forest fires, record heat waves, droughts and massive floods that are damaging societies and economies.
“The scale and speed at which our planet is heating up can no longer be ignored. The impact this has on an already resource-constrained world is evident”.
Temperatures have already increased by 0.85C compared with 1880 and unless emissions are cut immediately, the increase will reach 2-4C when it will be no longer be possible for people to adapt to the results.
Food production, water resources, and the ecosystems will all be affected, threatening devastation to societies, the report warns.
It is too late to reverse some of the impacts but the next five to 10 years are critical to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. This will require a change in the way our economies are organised as currently they produce harmful pollution patterns.
“Today is an exceptional moment in time when the impacts of climate change have become visible in all parts of the world, including in Europe. Climate change is affecting our daily lives and will increasingly affect our life choices.”
The Intergovernmental Panel on climate Change in its fifth assessment report in September confirmed that climate change is happening, is caused by human activity and requires urgent action. They predicted that if current emission trends are not reversed the climate will warm by up to 5C by 2100.
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