Thursday, November 4, 1999 Published at 18:10 GMT
Europe's climate forecast is hot
More extreme weather may lead to more insurance claims
By our Environment Correspondent Alex Kirby
Here is the European weather forecast for the next century and it has several surprises.
Average temperatures across the continent are expected to rise between 0.1 and 0.4 degrees Centigrade each decade. Very hot summers will become at least twice as frequent as they are now and perhaps 10 times more frequent.
Except in the far north of Europe, they will also be drier than they are now. By 2080, very cold winters will almost have disappeared. Across Europe, winters will become wetter by one to two percent per decade.
The EU initiative is known as Acacia (A Concerted Action towards a Comprehensive Climate Impact and Adaptations Assessment). The project looked at the potential impacts of global warming and the sectors most liable to be affected if climate change occurs as many scientists anticipate.
It concluded that forestry, recreation and agriculture in Northern Europe might show appreciable gains, with smaller benefits for energy and construction sectors.
Professor Parry said climate change over the long term might aggravate existing near-term environmental problems. So the question of how to adapt to it should be factored into future policies of environmental management and economic development.
Trying to mitigate climate change by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, he said, was not enough. If the provisions of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change were implemented they would reduce the expected rise in temperature by 2050 of one to two degC by only about 0.06 degC.
Already average European temperatures were showing an increase of 0.5 degC over the last 25 years, a rise Professor Parry described as "significant".