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Portugal among European countries most affected by extreme weather events

By February 7, 2022February 10th, 2022No Comments

Portugal is one of the European countries most affected in the last 40 years by extreme weather events in terms of premature deaths and economic losses, according to a report released on 3 February.

According to a study by the European Environment Agency (EEA), extreme weather events, which are expected to increase in the coming years as a result of climate change, have cost 142,000 lives and almost 510 billion euros in Europe over the past 40 years.

These extreme events include meteorological events, such as storms, hydrological, such as floods, or climatological, such as heat waves, cold waves and droughts, and in Portugal they also have a significant impact.

In a list of 32 European countries analysed, Portugal ranks 5th in terms of premature deaths with 9,267 human losses in that period.

On the other hand, extreme climatic events over the last four decades have cost the country 13.461 billion euros, placing Portugal in 7th place in economic losses, with 478 million euros only in losses covered by insurance (in this indicator, the country occupies 16th place).

The environmental association Zero, which highlights these data in a statement, expressed concern over the conclusions, warning of the high costs of climate change.

“These data show that Portugal is one of the countries most affected by the damages associated with extreme weather events associated with climate change or even climate change already underway,” the association points out.

The AEA report also shows that between 1980 and 2020, climate change represented on average costs of 25 to 37.50 euros per person per year and that Portugal is one of the countries where the economic impact on GDP is more pronounced, representing 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent between 2005 and 2014.

With losses between 100 thousand and 200 thousand euros per square kilometre, it is also among the countries with the highest values in this indicator and, on the other hand, with less damage coverage by extreme weather event insurance (less than 5 percent of the value of the damage).

In view of these data, Zero considers it essential to ensure funding for the implementation of climate change adaptation measures and to call for the adhesion to insurance that covers extreme weather events.

It also proposes to accelerate the National Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change, promote the adhesion of municipalities to the Covenant of Mayors and the climate mitigation, adaptation and energy poverty targets for 2050, and develop regional adaptation plans until 2024, with commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Globally, the EEA report, which is based on data from the CATDAT organisation, points out that a few very severe events concentrate much of the damage: 3 percent of identified disasters account for about 60 percent of the financial cost between 1980-2020.

Climatic events such as heat waves, but also cold spells, droughts or forest fires are responsible for 93 percent of total deaths and 22 percent of financial losses. Human losses are much lower in floods, but these disasters caused the most damage, 44 percent of the total, ahead of storms (34 percent).

The agency recommends measures taken at individual and state level to avoid risks associated with extreme events and limit data.