Flooding and winds: the impact of climate change in Europe calls for modernisation of infrastructure

One common topic that keeps surfacing in conversation, is climate change. Not only is it an urgent matter that everyone should be concerned about but – since the weather has been changing in front of our eyes – how could we not talk about it? With the climate changing drastically, the seasons getting shorter and temperatures all over the charts, the situation is calling for attention. More specifically, in Europe the impacts of climate change are starting to get quite costly, especially for infrastructure.

In fact, not only is the weather changing for the worse, but the costs of repairing everything are getting higher too. In fact, it’s estimated that when the year 2050 comes about, European countries will have had to spend €19.6 billion in order to protect their respective infrastructures from climate change damages. Buildings are affected by climate change because of the harsh weather conditions that they have to resist against. Already now, European countries spend approximately €3.4 billion on infrastructure repair. In the future, the repair costs are said to rise greatly, and reach €9.3 billion by 2020, €19.6 billion by 2050, and the whopping amount of €37 billion by 2080.

These numbers are no joke, and neither are the effects we will be living through. If the costs of repairing concrete buildings are that high, what will the weather we have to live in be like? The study Escalating Impacts of Climate Extremes on Critical Infrastructures in Europe conducted by scientists from all over the world has shown the possible impacts countries will be facing. As a result, appropriate and efficient infrastructures have been presented to the European governments as a suggestion of what their respective citizens will need in the future in order to stay safe from climate change.

Furthermore, two of the main industries that will be affected by the climate change are transport and energy. These two sectors are highly important for countries, and should be a priority to safeguard. Currently, European countries already spend €500 million each year to repair infrastructures in the energy department. Because power plants need to be a specific internal temperature, the droughts and dry spells in the future will most likely cause grave problems to the energy field. For the transport instead, the rising temperatures also take a toll on the asphalt, streets, and railways. Not to mention droughts causing problems for water transport.

With such a serious forecast for the future, how can we stand by and watch it happen? Action must be taken – not only for the rising costs of repair, but also for the overall importance of weather and maintaining the seasons.

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