The costliest impact of climate change in Europe this century is likely to be on human health – and in particular heat-related deaths – according to a new economic assessment by the EU Joint Research Centre, the European Commission’s in-house science service.
The study looks at the impact of a 3.5˚C rise in global average temperature from pre-industrial levels – an increase expected if no concerted international action is taken. The official target is to limit the rise to 2˚C by cutting greenhouse gasses.
Heat-related deaths in Europe could reach 200,000 a year with a 3.5˚C temperature rise, according to the study. The economic cost of premature mortality caused by global warming is estimated at €120bn a year. This exceeds the impact on coastal infrastructure (€42bn) and agriculture (€18bn).