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U.N.-EU report finds Europe warming twice the pace of rest of world –



Temperatures in Europe are rising at twice the global average, according to a report by the United Nations and the EU’s climate service. File Photo by Salas/EPA-EFE

April 22 (UPI) — Europe saw its warmest year on record in 2023, both on land and sea, with climate change driving the rate of warming at double the global average, according to a new international report published Monday.

Understanding climate change, the impacts of which were felt across the continent with millions of people affected by extreme weather events, was critical to deliver on the priority to develop mitigation and adaptation measures, the Copernicus Climate Change Service and World Meteorological Organization said in a joint news release.

Last year was either the joint warmest or second warmest on record, depending on the data used, with a rise in adverse health impacts related to extreme weather and climate events and exceptional Alpine glacier ice loss, despite renewables making up a record 43% of electricity generation, their 2023 European State of the Climate report found.

The report added that while most global regions were warming, the European continent was warming the fastest with temperatures rising at around twice the global average rate and the three warmest years ever all in the past four years and the 10 warmest since 2007.

Temperatures were higher than average for 11 months of last year, including the warmest September on record, and a record number of days were categorized as having “extreme heat stress” amid an upward trend.

Heat-related mortality is up 30% in the past 20 years and heat-related deaths are estimated to have increased in more than nine out of 10 European regions where it is being tracked, the report said.

“In 2023, Europe witnessed the largest wildfire ever recorded, one of the wettest years, severe marine heat waves and widespread devastating flooding. Temperatures continue to increase, making our data ever more vital in preparing for the impacts of climate change,” said C3S Director Carlo Buontempo.

The long summer of heat waves, wildfires, droughts and flooding saw at least 63 people killed by storms, 44 in floods and 44 in wildfires, according to preliminary International Disaster Database estimates.

Economic losses due to weather and climate-related events are estimated at more than $14.3 billion.

WMO Secretary-General Celeste Saulo said the report showed climate change was an existential crisis that required urgent action.

“The climate crisis is the biggest challenge of our generation. The cost of climate action may seem high, but the cost of inaction is much higher. As this report shows, we need to leverage science to provide solutions for the good of society,” she said.

The Copernicus-World Meteorological Society report comes two weeks after Copernicus’ latest figures showed March was Earth’s hottest March on record with the average global temperature 1.68 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times, hitting 14.14 degrees Celsius.

It was also the tenth straight surface air temperature record-breaking month, helping push the average temperature for the year to the end of March 1.58 degrees Celsius higher than in the pre-industrial period, designated as 1850-1900.

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