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Northern EU nations could profit from climate change

25 November 2009, 16:17 CET
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(BRUSSELS) - Global warming could cost the European Union as a whole up to 65 billion euros per year, but paradoxically northern nations could end up in profit, according to a study released Wednesday.

The report, published by the EU's Joint Research Centre, says that if the projected 2080 climate existed today, an average rise of more than 2.5 degrees Celsius, the bloc would face an annual bill of 20-65 billion euros (30-97.5 billion dollars) a year just to deal with the consequences.

Those costs stem from effects on the agricultural sector and from flooding and coastal erosion, moving populations and changing tourism patterns.

Overall farm production is calculated to fall by 10 percent.

Flooding could affect an extra 400,000 people per year.

Tourism is the only factor which would be left largely unaffected on a EU level, according to the study, but with huge regional variations.

Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece would be among the worst affected in all areas as their Mediterranean climate heats up, with agricultural takings down 25 percent and five billion euros worth of sweltering tourists staying away each year.

Central Europe -- for the study's purposes a zone running from Ireland through Britain, France, the Netherlands and eastwards to Romania and Poland -- would suffer less, hit economically largely by flooding but benefiting via tourism.

That tendency would be accentuated further north -- across Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden -- the researchers say.

"Northern Europe is the only region with net economic benefits, mainly driven by the positive effects in agriculture," the study says, with more tourists too, leaving the possibility of a 0.5-0.7 percent rise in GDP.

However the report's authors caution that the increase in temperatures could be higher than their models, leaving everyone out of pocket.

They stressed also that their study does not take account of a loss of biodiversity, and other non-economic impacts.

Climate change impacts in Europe. Final 
report of the PESETA research project

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