European winters will disappear by 2080 and extreme weather will become more common unless global warming across the continent is slowed, warns a major new report.
Europe is warming more quickly than the rest of the world with potentially devastating consequences, including more frequent heatwaves, flooding, rising sea levels and melting glaciers, says the European Environment Agency (EEA) document, launched on Wednesday.
The changes are happening at such a pace that Europeans must put in place strategies to adapt to an unfamiliar climate, the researchers write, although they stress the importance of the Kyoto Protocol in cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
“Europe has to continue to lead worldwide efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but this report also underlines that strategies are needed at European, regional, national and local level to adapt to climate change,” says Jacqueline McGlade, executive director of the EEA, based in Denmark. “This is a phenomenon that will considerably affect our societies and environments for decades and centuries to come,”
“What the report shows is that, if we go on as we are, we have less than 50 years before we encounter conditions which will be uncharted and potentially hazardous,” she told the BBC.
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