The main motivation for this project is to better understand how climate change can affect Europe, in order to derive useful insights for climate adaptation. The research integrates what is known on climate impacts in the various natural science disciplines into the economic analysis. It takes into consideration current projections on estimated CO2 emissions, the potential range of climate variations (temperature, rain, wind, solar radiation, air humidity) and the biophysical impacts (agriculture yields, river floods, and transport infrastructure losses) to assess the economic burden of potential climate scenarios. It focuses on the impacts of climate change on nine sectors: agriculture, coastal systems, river floods, droughts, tourism, human health, energy, transport infrastructure and forest fires. High time-space resolution climate data feed highly detailed sector-specific impact models to estimate the biophysical impacts.
According to its conclusions, if no further action is taken and global temperature increases by 3.5°C, climate damages in the EU could amount to at least €190 billion, a net welfare loss of 1.8% of its current GDP. Several weather-related extremes could roughly double their average frequency. As a consequence, heat-related deaths could reach about 200 000, the cost of river flood damages could exceed €10 billion and 8000 km2 of forest could burn in southern Europe. The number of people affected by droughts could increase by a factor of seven and coastal damage, due to sea-level rise, could more than triple. These economic assessments are based on scenarios where the climate expected by the end of the century (2080s) occurs in the current population and economic landscape.
The project benefits largely from past DG Research projects that have developed impact modelling capabilities and high-resolution climate scenarios for Europe.