Highlights

  • Europe temperatures have increased at more than twice the global average: UN
  • UN: fastest temperature rise of any continent on earth
  • Europe has on average seen temperatures rise 0.5°C each decade since 1991

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Europe temperature rise more than twice global average: UN

The new report, released ahead of the UN's 27th conference on climate set to open in Egypt on Sunday, examined the situation in Europe up to and including 2021.

Temperatures in Europe have increased at more than twice the global average over the past three decades, showing the fastest rise of any continent on earth, the UN said Wednesday.

The European region has on average seen temperatures rise 0.5 degrees Celsius each decade since 1991, the UN's World Meteorological Organization and the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service found in a joint report.

As a result, Alpine glaciers lost 30 metres (just under 100 feet) in ice thickness between 1997 and 2021, while the Greenland ice sheet is swiftly melting and contributing to accelerating sea level rise.

Last year, Greenland experienced melting and the first-ever recorded rainfall at its highest point.

And the report cautioned that regardless of future levels of global warming, temperatures would likely continue to rise across Europe at a rate exceeding global mean temperature changes.

"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 chief Petteri Taalas said in a statement.

The new report, released ahead of the UN's 27th conference on climate set to open in Egypt on Sunday, examined the situation in Europe up to and including 2021.

It found that last year, high-impact weather and climate events -- mainly floods and storms -- led to hundreds of deaths, directly affected more than half a million people and caused economic damage across Europe exceeding $50 billion.

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At the same time, the report highlighted some positives, including the success of many European countries in slashing greenhouse gas emissions.

Across the EU, such emissions decreased by nearly a third between 1990 and 2020, and the bloc has set a net 55-percent reduction target for 2030.

Europe is also one of the most advanced regions when it comes to cross-border cooperation towards climate change adaptation, the report said.

It also hailed Europe's world-leading deployment of early warning systems, providing protection for about 75 percent of the population, and said its heat-health action plans had saved many lives.

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