It’s Not a Contest, But Europe Is Winning

by | Apr 29, 2024 | Climate Risk, Risk Report | 0 comments

As you might have noticed, there are differences in the approach to climate change between the US and Europe. In the US, the political discourse on the subject tends to set the pace of progress whereas the Europeans seem to agree more on the interpretation of scientific data and already have comprehensive plans and regulations in place for them to contribute to a net-zero emissions state by 2050.

The differences might not all be culturally driven, as Europe has the dubious honor of being the fastest-warming continent of all and therefore feels the heat more acutely than others—pun intended.

This week the European Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released their annual assessment of the region’s climate, and it is not cheery news.

These were some of the headlines for Europe in 2023:

  • Largest wildfire on record

  • Significantly more precipitation than usual

  • Costliest-ever floods

  • Warmest ever, though on par with 2020

  • Continued rate of warming of 0.4°C per decade (twice the global average)

The only good news is that because of the outsized weather events, a record amount of clean energy was produced, almost half of it from renewables.

It is not enough, though. Even with a general agreement that something has to be done, there is less consensus about who should do it and when, except “not I, not now.”

Polls for the election to the European Parliament in June show waning support for climate action, and some policies to environmentally upgrade agriculture have been scaled back.

So, for all the effort, the EU is not tracking to meet its goal of reducing CO2 emissions by at least 55% by 2030 which means the extreme weather events will keep coming for a while longer.

In other words, bring plenty of sunscreen and rain gear if you go abroad this summer.

Regitze Ladekarl, FRM, is FRG’s Director of Company Intelligence. She has 25-plus years of experience where finance meets technology.