In the next thirty years it is predicted that Europe will have to spend up to 20 billion euros to protect its vital infrastructure from the damaging effects of climate change. The impacts of climate change in Europe puts at risk the efficiency, safety and durability of infrastructure and is an issue that must be faced and not thought of as a problem of the distant future. It is very much a present issue that requires urgent action if infrastructure in Europe is to survive.
The news every day is full of stories relating to this concerning phenomenon. With temperatures reaching record highs this year, and a never-ending stream of reports of floods, storms, heat waves, fires and cold snaps- it is not surprise that Europe’s infrastructure is suffering. It has been reported that countries in Europe spend roughly 3 and a half billion euros per year on damage caused by climate change- and this figure is set to rise. Indeed, by the time we reach 2050 this annual spending is predicted to reach almost 20 billion. Clearly it is absolutely necessary that European governments must be prepared and have plans in place to ensure the secure future of infrastructure in their countries, in order to guarantee their citizens have access to safe and efficient infrastructure in the future.
The two sectors, which are most at risk from this climate change, are energy and transport- and these are therefore the areas governments should be majorly focusing on. Rising temperatures create unprecedented hot spells and longer drought periods, which have a devastating effect on the energy industry, which struggle to keep indoor temperatures at a comfortably low level.
Extreme temperatures and weather conditions are also to blame for the destruction of roads and transport systems. Trains, cars and almost every other for of transport is and will continue to be affected by the effects of climate change as surfaces become damaged and local governments are overwhelmed by the amount of reparation and damage control left to be done.
When we think of the effects of bad weather on the roads and rail lines of course most will be imagining excessive water or flooding. But extremely high temperatures are equally if not more damaging and hotter European countries are feeling the effects of this already. Indeed, under ten years ago extreme weather only made up 10 percent of damage to infrastructure in Europe. Shockingly, this has now risen and is expected to continue in this upwards trajectory reaching up to 90 percent by the end of the century.
Action must be taken immediately in order to even attempt to counter-act these negative effects. In 2017 the European Investment Bank warned that there was a shocking lack of spending in infrastructure and though this spending has since increased slightly it is still no where near enough to face the devastating impact climate change is going to have in infrastructure across Europe, and indeed the world.
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