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Escalating impacts of climate extremes on critical infrastructures in Europe


Extreme climatic events that are likely to become more frequent owing to global warming put additional stress on critical infrastructures with typically long life spans. However, little is known about the risks of multiple climate extremes on critical infrastructures at regional to continental scales. The publication shows how single- and multi-hazard damage to energy, transport, industrial, and social critical infrastructures in Europe are likely to develop until the year 2100 under the influence of climate change. Damages could triple by the 2020s, multiply six-fold by mid-century, and amount to more than 10 times present damage of €3.4 billion per year by the end of the century due only to climate change. Damage from heatwaves, droughts in southern Europe, and coastal floods shows the most dramatic rise, but the risks of inland flooding, windstorms, and forest fires will also increase in Europe, with varying degrees of change across regions. Economic losses are highest for the industry, transport, and energy sectors. Future losses will not be incurred equally across Europe. Southern and south-eastern European countries will be most affected and, as a result, will probably require higher costs of adaptation. The findings of this study could aid in prioritizing regional investments to address the unequal burden of impacts and differences in adaptation capacities across Europe.

Reference information

Forzieri, G., Bianchi, A., Batista e Silva, F., Marin Herrera, M.A., Leblois, A., Lavalle, C., Aerts, J.C.J.H. and Feyen, L., ‘Escalating impacts of climate extremes on critical infrastructures in Europe’, Global Environmental Change, Vol. 48, 2017, pp. 97-107
European Commission

Published in Climate-ADAPT Nov 13 2018   -   Last Modified in Climate-ADAPT Feb 04 2023

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