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European Environment Agency (EEA) publishes alarming assessment of Europe’s vulnerability to climate change

EEA report findings showcase how climate change is already contributing to disease and premature death in Europe. HEAL believes that this report – which also projects substantial costs to health for the future – should bring a greater sense of urgency to EU climate policy in terms of increasing the EU level of ambition.

The comprehensive report assesses the vulnerability of different sectors including human health to climatic changes and identifies the regions most at risk.

The key message is that climate change is already occurring in Europe and that it has caused a wide range of impacts on society and ecosystems. The report also focuses on health impacts, highlighting that climate change is already contributing to the burden of disease and premature death in Europe. The projected changes are expected to cause substantial health costs in Europe for example 26,000 heat-related premature deaths per year are projected for 2020, increasing to more than 120,000 by 2080.

This assessment also reiterated the importance of keeping the 2 degrees target: the number of heat stress fatalities by 2080 would be reduced to almost one-half if global average temperature rise is limited to 2 degrees Celsius.

Another finding presented by EEA is that between 775,000 and 5.5 million people in the EU could be affected by flooding and mudslides. Climate change is also projected to support the trend of northwards and vertically upwards shift of a range of communicable disease vectors, such as tick species, mosquitos and sandflies and likely to increase the prevalence of food-and water-borne diseases in Europe.

Read the executive summary or the report here.

Last updated on 12 December 2012

About HEAL

The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union (EU). We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. Read more »


HEAL has over 70 member organisations, representing health professionals, not-for-profit health insurers, doctors, nurses, cancer and asthma groups, citizens, women’s groups, youth groups, environmental NGOs, scientists and public health institutes. Members include international and Europe-wide organisations, as well as national and local groups. Read more »

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