Global warming could change the face of France

The last part of the IPCC report shows how France and Europe could be affected by global warming.

“A terrible warning” is how the chairman of the IPCC described the second part of the sixth report, which examines the probable consequences of global warming. If the conclusions of the IPCC are often drawn on a planetary scale, this new section, published on Monday, looks back on what could change region by region.

Without focusing very precisely on France, the report explains very well what awaits the inhabitants of Western and Southern Europe. According to the scientists behind the colossal report, four major consequences should be felt in France.

Ever hotter summers

As the IPCC explains very well, the first impact of global warming is, as its name suggests, a rise in temperatures. If for the moment the change is 1.09°C, it could rise to 2.7°C according to the latest IPCC estimates. This could give rise to very long heat waves, with consequences just as dramatic as during the spectacular summer of 2003.

Deaths from lack of hydration, both in newborns and the elderly, could be much higher than today. But according to the report’s authors, heat isn’t the only thing to worry about.

Agriculture in extreme difficulty and a crying lack of water

They explain that the agricultural world should be hit hard by the consequences of global warming. “Substantial agricultural production losses are projected for most European regions during the 21st century and these will not be offset by production gains in Northern Europe”explains the report.

The IPCC recalls that if global warming exceeds 3°C, the current irrigation systems will clearly be insufficient and the lack of water which will affect southern Europe (therefore in France regions such as Aquitaine or Roussillon) will not maintain an agricultural system as we know it.

Because water risks, in Europe as elsewhere, to be the new nugget of the planet. An essential resource for life, it could become very rare in the coming years. According to the IPCC, a third of the population of southern Europe could suffer from dehydration and a serious lack of water. From +3°C, all of France should be affected by the lack of water, and real “water wars” could arise on our continent.

Rising waters: the worst scourge?

If drinking water as we consume it is likely to run out, the south of France could nevertheless be covered with water. Indeed, the fourth and final threat hovering over us is rising waters. Already visible in the oceanic atolls on the other side of the world, it could very well become a reality in the coming decades, here in France.

Wolfgang Cramer, research director at the CNRS applied that the Mediterranean Sea is also “very fragile” on this point. In the historical absence of tide, cities have been built on the shores, and they will therefore be in the front line if the water comes to rise. According to the report, the damage caused by the floods should thus be multiplied by 10 by the end of the century.

As Gonéri Le Cozannet, author of the IPCC report, reminds us, these four risks are not the only ones that await Europe in the coming years. “There are cascading risks” that could unfold if the situation does not improve significantly in the coming decades.

Overseas also affected

The IPCC is also sounding the alarm with regard to overseas island territories. Guadeloupe, Martinique or the island of Reunion and Mayotte could be affected in an extraordinary way by global warming which is already part of the daily life of the inhabitants.

The IPCC goes so far as to question the habitability status of the islands. According to him, it could become very difficult, if not impossible, to continue living on these islands at the end of this century. Globally, climatic migrations are expected to become common at the end of the century, which will undoubtedly lead to major geopolitical upheavals.

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