5 things we learned from the EU’s first-ever climate risk report

By Zia Weise | 03/12/2024 06:48 AM EDT

Farming must change. Diets must evolve. Southern Europe is at risk. And disaster looms if EU leaders don’t act after June’s elections.

A man wraps his shirt over his face as he tries to extinguish a fire.

A man wraps his shirt over his face as he tries to extinguish a fire July 24, 2023, near the seaside resort of Lindos, on the Aegean Sea island of Rhodes, southeastern Greece. Europe is facing growing climate risks and is unprepared for them, the European Environment Agency said in its first-ever risk assessment for the bloc Monday. Petros Giannakouris/AP

BRUSSELS — Act now or climate change will wreak catastrophic damage on Europe.

That’s the blunt message scientists sent to the European Union’s leaders on Monday in the first-ever report on climate risks facing the bloc from the European Environment Agency (EEA).

The EEA, an EU body conducting independent research to inform policymaking, warned that the bloc is unprepared for the effects of climate change even if the world manages to keep global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, as set down in the Paris Agreement.


Every extra tenth of a degree will bring more coastal floods, yearslong droughts and scorching heat spells, the researchers said, meaning Brussels and EU governments must quickly accelerate preparations to protect lives and livelihoods.