Damages of the burgeoning global warming scenario in the European Union could hit 190 billion euros ($259 billion) a year in the 2071-2100 period, according to a new report by the Joint Research Centre, the European Commission's in-house science service.
On the assumption that global temperature increases by 3.5°C, this corresponds to a net welfare loss of 1.8 per cent of its current GDP.
Moreover, heat-related deaths could reach 200,000, the cost of river flood damages could surpass $13.6 billion (€10 billion) and an area of 8,000 km2 of forest could burn in southern Europe.
Drought-hit populations could jump by a factor of seven. Coastal damage, triggered by rising sea levels, could expand by more than triple.
Overall, 70 per cent of the losses will come from southern Europe and central southern Europe, while northern Europe would account for 1 per cent and the U.K. and Ireland for 5 per cent.
"No action is clearly the most expensive solution of all. Why pay for the damages when we can invest in reducing our climate impacts and becoming a competitive low-carbon economy? Taking action and taking a decision on the 2030 climate and energy framework in October, will bring us just there and make Europe ready for the fight against climate change," Connie Hedegaard, the European commissioner for climate action, wrote in an online statement.
The Joint Research Centre analysed the impacts of climate change in nine different sectors in the EU, including agriculture, river floods, coasts, tourism, energy, droughts, forest fires, transport infrastructure and human health.
Meantime, of all countries in the EU, it will be Ireland that will bear the brunt of the impacts of river flooding.
Costs of sea flooding in Ireland will jump from €996 million to almost €3 billion. "This increase in damages would occur mainly in the UK and Ireland, where damages are tripled up to €3.3bn a year (up from €872m) and the Central Europe South region, where damages raise from €2bn up to €5.2bn," the report stated.