Floods in Europe Soon to Have an Average €23.5Bn ($32.42Bn) Yearly Price Tag

Climate change, socioeconomic growth will both contribute to the increase in flood losses

Specialists working with the International Institute for Applied Systems, the Institute for Environmental Studies in Amsterdam, and several other research centers scattered all across Europe have some not very good news about the future.

Long story short, these researchers argue that, according to their investigations into the matter at hand, floods in Europe will soon come with an annual price tag roughly four times bigger than its current value.

Specifically, they maintain that, if their estimates are correct, then yearly average flood losses in the European Union will be worth a whopping €23.5 billion ($32.42 billion) by the year 2050.

To put things into perspective, it must be said that their value between the years 2000 and 2012 was documented to have been one of just €4.9 billion ($6.76 billion), Click Green reports.

The same source tells us that, according to the scientists who took part in this investigation, annual average flood losses in Europe are likely to quadruple in value by 2050 due to both climate change and socioeconomic growth.

Specifically, the first of these two variables, which refers to the expansion of human society in coastal regions and in areas that are more likely to experience floods, is expected to account for roughly two thirds of the increased risk.

Climate change, on the other hand, will most likely account for the remaining third. Thus, this phenomenon has high chances to up average yearly flood losses across the European Union by toying with rainfall patterns in this part of the world.

“The new study for the first time accounts for the correlation between floods in different countries. Current risk-assessment models assume that each river basin is independent,” explains researcher Stefan Hochrainer-Stigler with the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.

“But in actuality, river flows across Europe are closely correlated, rising and falling in response to large-scale atmospheric patterns that bring rains and dry spells to large regions,” he adds.

In light of the findings of this investigation into how socioeconomic growth and changes in rainfall patterns will affect the European Union, specialists recommend that measures to help member states be prepared for such events be implemented without delay.

“We need to be prepared for larger stress on risk financing mechanisms, such as the pan-European Solidarity Fund (EUSF), a financial tool for financing disaster recovery in the European Union,” argues Stefan Hochrainer-Stigler.

Furthermore, “We need to reconsider advance mechanisms to finance these risks if we want to be in the position to quickly and comprehensively pay for recovery.”

The specialist and his colleagues also urge that vulnerable areas try and boost their ability to deal with floods by investing in infrastructure intended to protect them against such natural disasters.

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