EU leaders ditch call to prepare for ‘new realities’ of warmer planet

By Zia Weise | 06/28/2024 06:05 AM EDT

The European Environmental Agency found Europe unprepared for climate change risks such as floods and heat waves.

Firemen try to control a forest fire about 27 miles from Pamplona, Spain, on Aug. 24, 2023.

During Spain's fourth heat wave of the summer, firemen try to control a forest fire about 27 miles from Pamplona on Aug. 24, 2023. Alvaro Barrientos/AP

BRUSSELS — Preparing the European Union for the dangers of a warming planet is no longer a priority for the bloc’s leaders, according to documents seen by POLITICO.

Europe is already experiencing the effects of climate change — with droughts, floods, wildfires and heat waves becoming more frequent and more severe. In the spring, the European Environment Agency issued a damning verdict of the Continent’s preparedness for the risks of climate change.

“If decisive action is not taken now, most climate risks identified [in the assessment] could reach critical or catastrophic levels by the end of this century,” the agency said, adding that hundreds of thousands of people could die from heat waves.


But a call to “prepare for the new realities stemming from climate change” has disappeared from EU leaders’ policy priority list for the next five years.