Climate change in Europe

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Climate change in Europe describes the climate change related issues in Europe. This includes the climate politics, contribution in the global warming and the influence of the global warming in Europe. According to international climate experts global temperature rise should not exceed 2 °C to prevent the most dangerous consequences of the climate change. It is estimated to demand at least 80-85% emission reductions in the EU during 2008-2050 with reductions as soon as technically possible. It is estimated that from the now living persons alive are 70% in the year 2050. Emission reduction means development and implementation of new energy technology solutions. Some people consider that the technology revolution has already started in Europe since the markets of the renewable technology have annually grown.[1]

Europe Union climate chief is Connie Hedegaard since 10 February 2010.

Effects[edit]

Climate change affects both people and the environment in the world and Europe. Human-induced climate change has the potential to alter the prevalence and severity of extreme weather as storms, floods, droughts, heat waves and cold waves. These extreme weather changes may increase the severity of the diseases for animals and humans. The heat waves will increase the forest fires. Experts have warned that the climate change may increase the number of global climate refugees from 150 million in 2008 to 800 million in future. International agreement of refugees does not recognize the climate change refugees.

The summer of 2003 was probably the hottest in Europe since at latest ad 1500, and unusually large numbers of heat-related deaths were reported in France, Germany and Italy. According to Nature (journal) it is very likely that the heat wave was human induced by greenhouse gases.[2]

According to European Environment Agency (2012) the average temperature over land in Europe in the last decade was 1.3 °C warmer than the preindustrial level, which makes it the warmest decade on record. Exceptional melting in the Greenland ice sheet was recorded in the summer of 2012. Arctic sea ice extent and volume have been decreasing much faster than projected.[3]

Observed impacts[edit]

Record meteorological events In Europe.[4]
When Where What Price
2003 Europe hottest summer in at least 500 years 70,000 deaths
2000 England and Wales wettest autumn on record since 1766 £1.3 billion
2007 England and Wales wettest July on record since 1766 £3 billion
2007 Greece hottest summer since 1891 wildfires
2010 Russia hottest summer since 1500 $15 billion. 55,000 deaths
2011 France hottest and driest spring since 1880 grain harvest down by 12%
2012 Arctic sea ice minimum
Prizes are estimates

In the absence of climate change, extreme heat waves in Europe would be expected to occur only once every several hundred years. In addition to hydrological changes, grain crops mature earlier at higher temperatures, which may reduce the critical growth period and lead to lower grain yields The Russian heat wave in 2010 caused grain harvest down by 25 percent, government ban wheat exports, and losses were 1% of GDP. Russian heat wave 2010 estimate for deaths is 55,000.[4]

The Arctic sea ice reached a record minimum in September 2012. It halved the area of ice covering the Arctic Ocean in summers over the last 30 years.[4]

Emissions[edit]

Coal[edit]

See also: Coal in Europe

The annual CO2 emissions from coal were in the OECD Europe during 2005-2008 average equal to the year 2000. There are however country specific differences. During 1990-2008 emissions from coal were the highest in Europe in Russia, Germany, Poland, Ukraine and United Kingdom. Among the top 20 coal emission countries only four countries have increased their annual average emissions from coal during 2005-2008 compared to the year 1990, namely Turkey (181%), Finland ( 121%), Italy (115%) and Greece (108%).

Many East European countries, including ex East Germany, Russia, Poland, Ukraine, Slovakia, Estonia and Hungary, and also United Kingdom, declined significantly their coal dependency from 1990 to 2000. However, the statistics of IEA gives no evidence of decline of coal dependency during 2000-2008 in Europe. Among the top 20 Belgium is the only European country that has clearly declined its climate change emissions from coal during 2000-2008.

Annual CO2 emissions from coal in Europe (Mt) (IAE)
Population 1990 2000 2000-4 2005-8= # # / 2000 # / 1990 # / capita
1 Russia 141.8 687 441 427 421 95% 61% 3.0
2 Germany 82.1 505 337 342 337 100% 67% 4.1
3 Poland 38.1 287 217 211 210 97% 73% 5.5
4 Ukraine 46.3 283 116 127 139 120% 49 % 3.0
5 UK 61.4 238 138 144 147 106% 62 % 2.4
6 Turkey 71.1 58 89 80 105 118% 181% 1.5
7 Kazakhstan 15.7 153 80 90 108 135% 71% 6.9
8 Czech 10.4 121 84 80 77 92% 64% 7.4
9 Italy 59.9 55 43 54 63 146% 115% 1.1
10 Spain 45.6 74 81 79 70 86% 95 % 1.5
11 France 64.1 74 58 50 52 90% 70% 0.8
12 Romania 21.5 50 29 32 35 123% 71% 1.6
13 Greece 11.2 33 37 38 36 96% 108 % 3.2
14 Serbia 7.4 41 35 37 33 94% 79% 4.5
15 Bulgaria 7.6 37 25 28 29 116% 80 % 3.9
16 Netherlands 16.4 32 29 32 30 103% 95 % 1.8
17 Finland 5.3 21 21 29 25 122% 121% 4.8
18 Belgium 10.7 39 29 23 18 61% 45 % 1.6
19 Denmark 5.5 24 15 18 18 114% 74% 3.2
20 Austria 8.3 16 14 16 16 108% 97% 1.9
TOP 20 730.4 2,827 1,920 1,935 1,970 103% 70%
Mt = million tonnes of CO2 # = 2005-2008

Top 20 countries and the number order based on emissions in 2008
2000-2004 and 2005-2008 = average annual emission

Legislation[edit]

There is in place national legislation, international agreements and the EU directives. The EU directive 2001/77/EU promotes renewable energy in the electricity production.

Stern report 2006[edit]

British government and economist Nicholas Stern published in 2006 the Stern report. The Review states that climate change is the greatest and widest-ranging market failure ever seen, presenting a unique challenge for economics. The Review provides prescriptions including environmental taxes to minimize the economic and social disruptions. The Stern Review's main conclusion is that the benefits of strong, early action on climate change far outweigh the costs of not acting.[5] The Review points to the potential impacts of climate change on water resources, food production, health, and the environment. According to the Review, without action, the overall costs of climate change will be equivalent to losing at least 5% of global gross domestic product (GDP) each year, now and forever. Including a wider range of risks and impacts could increase this to 20% of GDP or more.

No-one can predict the consequences of climate change with complete certainty; but we now know enough to understand the risks. The review leads to a simple conclusion: the benefits of strong, early action considerably outweigh the costs.[6]

EU energy plan 2008[edit]

In the end of 2008 the parliament of EU approved the climate and energy plan including:[1] - 20% emission cut of climate gases from 1990 to 2020 - 20% increase in the share of renewable energy from 1990 to 2020 - 20% increase of the energy efficiency 20% from 1990 to 2020.

Critics[edit]

The critics includes that European companies, like in the other OECD countries, have moved the energy intensive, polluting and climate gas emitting industry in Asia and South America. In respect to climate change there are no harmless areas. Carbon emissions from are countries are equal. The agreements exclude significant factors like deforestation, air aviation and tourism, the actual end consumption of energy and the historical of emissions. Negotiations are country oriented but the economical interests are in conflict between the energy producers, consumers and the environment.

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Ilmastonmuutos otettiin yhä vakavammin yle 30.12.2008 (Finnish)
  2. ^ Human contribution to the European heatwave of 2003 Stott, Stone & Allen, Nature 432, 610-614 (2 December 2004)
  3. ^ Climate change, impacts and vulnerability in Europe 2012 EEA 2012
  4. ^ a b c Why a 4 degree centrigrade warmer world must be avoided November 2012 World Bank
  5. ^ Stern, N. (2006). "Summary of Conclusions" (PDF). Executive summary (short). Stern Review Report on the Economics of Climate Change (pre-publication edition). HM Treasury. Retrieved 2011-04-28. 
  6. ^ Sir Nicholas Stern: Stern Review : The Economics of Climate Change, Executive Summary,10/2006