Climate Change Analysis
Jan 10, 2007
Europe, the richest and most fertile continent and the model for the modern world, will be devastated by climate change, the European Union predicts today. The ecosystems that have underpinned all European societies from Ancient Greece and Rome to present-day Britain and France, and which helped European civilisation gain global pre-eminence, will be disabled by remorselessly rising temperatures, EU scientists forecast in a remarkable report which is as ominous as it is detailed. Much of the continent's age-old fertility, which gave the world the vine and the olive and now produces mountains of grain and dairy products, will not survive the climate change forecast for the coming century, the scientists say, and its wildlife will be devastated. Europe's modern lifestyles will go the same way. Food, water, wood and fuel - which may generally be taken for granted - are all ultimately dependent on the proper functioning of ecosystems in the natural world. Historians have recognised that Europe was particularly lucky in this respect from the start, compared to Africa or pre-Columbian America - and this was a major reason for Europe's rise to global pre-eminence. Crop yields may drop sharply as drought conditions, exacerbated by more frequent forest fires, make farming ever more difficult.