Today, the European Environment Agency released the ‘Climate Change, Impacts and Vulnerability 2016’ report. The report assesses the latest trends and projections on climate change and its impacts across Europe. In a nutshell, climate change poses increasingly severe risks for ecosystems, human health and the economy in Europe. One of the main conclusions is that better and more flexible adaptation strategies, policies and measures will be crucial to lessen these impacts.
Trinomics supported the report preparation with inputs in particular on assessing Europe’s vulnerability to climate change impacts occurring outside Europe. Key messages from this analysis (Ch. 6.4) have been summarised as follows:
In a highly interconnected and globalised world, Europe is susceptible to spill-over effects from climate change impacts occurring outside the European territory through various pathways. Six major pathways have been identified from the available literature: trade of agricultural commodities, trade of non‑agricultural commodities, infrastructure and transport, geopolitics and security risks, human migration, and finance. Many of these pathways affect the value chains of European products, which are increasingly complex.
- The strongest evidence for Europe’s sensitivity to cross-border impacts exists for economic effects through climate‑caused global price volatilities; for transportation networks such as ports; and for changes in the Arctic environment, such as new shipping routes.
- The Mediterranean area has been identified as the most vulnerable to shocks in the flow of agricultural commodities, while small, open and highly developed European economies are regarded as particularly vulnerable to shocks in the flow of non-agricultural commodities.
- An increasing body of recent literature suggests that unprecedented climatic changes in North African regions, such as the Sahel and Maghreb, as well as in the Middle East will increase the strategic importance of these regions for Europe, with respect both to potential climate-induced human migration flows and to geopolitical and security considerations.
- European vulnerability to cross-border effects is expected to increase in the coming decades, although quantitative projections are not yet available.