Europe warmed twice as much as rest of world in past 30 years


Europe has warmed more than twice as much as the rest of the world in the past three decades and experienced the greatest temperature increase of any continent, a report by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) shows.

he report on the state of the climate in Europe follows a summer of extremes. A record-breaking heatwave scorched Britain, Ireland had its hottest temperature in 135 years, Alpine glaciers disappeared at an unprecedented rate and a long-lasting marine heatwave warmed the Mediterranean.

“Europe presents a live picture of a warming world and reminds us that even well-prepared societies are not safe from impacts of extreme weather events,” WMO secretary-general Petteri Taalas said in a statement.

From 1991 to 2021, temperatures across Europe warmed at an average of 0.5C per decade, the report said, while the global average was 0.2C. Last year, extreme weather events made worse by climate change – chiefly floods and storms – caused €50bn worth of damage across Europe.

The reason the continent is warming faster than other continents has to do with the fact that a large part of it is in the sub-Arctic and Arctic – the fastest warming region on Earth – as well as changes in climate feedbacks, scientists said.

Fewer clouds over Europe in the summer has meant more sunlight and heat now reaches the land, said Freja Vamborg, the Copernicus Climate Change Service’s senior scientist.

Some scientists have called Europe a “heatwave hotspot” as the number of heatwaves has risen faster than in other regions due to changes in atmospheric circulation.

Although temperatures are rising, the EU managed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 31pc between 1990 and 2020, the report said, and aims to slash emissions by 55pc by 2030.

On Sunday, delegates will arrive in Egypt for COP27, the annual United Nations climate summit. Taoiseach Micheál Martin is to attend the event in the resort of Sharm El Sheikh.

It is understood he will be accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney.

Their presence will be a demonstration of Ireland’s commitment to meeting the Paris Agreement goals of reducing carbon emissions by 51pc within this decade and achieving net zero by 2050.

The two men will visit the summit in the first week of its deliberations, with Climate Minister Eamon Ryan, the leader of the Green Party, taking over in the second week when the negotiations stage begins.

Earlier this year, the Government finally agreed a set of emissions reductions targets for every sector, with controversy over the 25pc set for agriculture, which is one of the biggest producers of greenhouse gases in Ireland.

In updated comments added to a government website yesterday, Mr Ryan said: “We’ve seen this summer how temperatures across Europe have soared and tens of thousands of people have been evacuated because of wildfires. The planet is clearly heating up rapidly and we need to take action quickly.”



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