‘No action is clearly the most expensive solution of all’
FRISCO — Inaction on climate change is probably the costliest option for the European Union, which could not only see direct costs of €190 billion, but also a net loss of 1.8 percent of its current GDP. Premature mortality accounts for more than half of the overall welfare losses (€120 billion), followed by impacts on coasts (€42 billion) and agriculture (€18 billion).
“No action is clearly the most expensive solution of all. Why pay for the damages when we can invest in reducing our climate impacts and becoming a competitive low-carbon economy?” said Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action. “Taking action and taking a decision on the 2030 climate and energy framework in October, will bring us just there and make Europe ready for the fight against climate change,” she said.
By the 2080s, the EU could see heat-related deaths double to 200,000 per year and the cost of river flooding could exceed €10 billion. Forest fires in southern Europe may burn up to 8,000 square kilometers of forest per year, and damages from coastal flooding could more than triple, based on the detailed new analysis by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, which carefully analyzed the impacts of climate change in 9 different sectors: agriculture, river floods, coasts, tourism, energy, droughts, forest fires, transport infrastructure and human health. The report also includes a pilot study on habitat suitability of forest tree species.
The analysis also showed how climate change impacts will play out in different regions, with southern and south-central Europe taking the biggest hit. But cuts in greenhouse gas emissions to keep temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius could cut the costs of climate change by 30 percent, according to the analysis.