Record heat and drought hurting European farmers, power utilities and insurers foreshadows even faster change to the continent’s climate, with scientists warning that feedback loops from a drying Earth will likely lead to dangerously high temperatures again this year.
The European Union’s newest climate assessment, published Thursday by its Copernicus Climate Change Service, shows how scientists and policymakers are preparing to adapt to life on a hotter planet. The bloc is spending billions of euros on new Earth observation space missions focused on helping its 450 million-person economy hedge against decreasing arable land, shrinking water levels and more wildfires.
Scorching, arid weather means diminished harvests that exacerbate food insecurity, and river levels so low they snarl transport and force power plants to shut down. France is already imposing so-called sobriety measures, with the European Commission also considering more ways to preserve suddenly scarce water resources.