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EU leaders remove climate change preparation

EU leaders remove climate change preparation

Leaders Preparation

EU leaders have dropped a call to prepare for the consequences of climate change from their strategic agenda for the next five years, according to draft documents seen by journalists. The line “prepare for the new realities stemming from climate change” appeared in pre-election versions of the agenda but has been removed from the latest drafts, including one dated June 21. Europe is already experiencing more frequent and severe droughts, floods, wildfires, and heat waves due to climate change.

The European Environment Agency recently warned that decisive action must be taken now to avoid critical or catastrophic levels of climate risks by the end of the century, with hundreds of thousands of people potentially dying from heat waves. Despite this, the call to prepare for global warming has disappeared from EU leaders’ policy priorities.

Climate adaptation missing from EU priorities

Parties across the political spectrum, from center-right to far-right, generally support efforts to adapt to a warmer world in their election manifestos. Spain’s ecological transition minister, Teresa Ribera, a favored candidate for a climate-focused job in the next European Commission, has emphasized the need for a clear and consistent approach to climate adaptation policies. However, her office declined to comment on the draft agenda changes.

Diplomats and government spokespeople largely declined to comment as well. One EU diplomat said the previous line on preparing for global warming had been replaced with broader references to strengthening the EU’s resilience, preparedness, and crisis response capacities to protect citizens and societies against various crises, including natural disasters and health emergencies. Adapting to climate change will require Europe to step up disaster preparedness, better manage water resources, restructure sectors like tourism and agriculture, cool cities, reinforce coastlines, tweak welfare systems and labor laws to protect vulnerable groups, update building codes, work with the insurance industry to spread financial risk, and figure out how to pay for it all.

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