Why climate change is heating Europe faster than the rest of the world

Climate change is causing Europe to heat up more quickly than any other continent – and twice as fast as the global average – with recent studies warning of mounting threats to food, water and energy security, human health, the economy and nature. What makes the continent more vulnerable than others?

The latest five-year averages show that temperatures in Europe are now running 2.3C above pre-industrial levels, compared to 1.3C globally.

Even in the best-case scenario, the European Commission warned that Europe would "have to learn to live with a climate that is 3 degrees warmer".

With its developed infrastructure and resources, Europe may be better equipped to adapt to climate change compared to more vulnerable regions, but it still faces unprecedented uphill challenges.

In its first-ever European Climate Risk Assessment, the European Environment Agency (EEA) warned the continent was ill prepared for rapidly growing climate risks – extreme heat, drought, wildfires and flooding – that will affect the living conditions of millions.

Climate hotspots

“Europe faces urgent climate risks that are growing faster than our societal preparedness,” EEA executive director Leena Ylä-Mononen said when the analysis was published in March, urging governments to get cracking on course-correction policies.

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