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Europe is the fastest-warming continent, at nearly twice the average global rate, report says

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Europe is the fastest-warming continent, at nearly twice the average global rate, report says
News

News

Europe is the fastest-warming continent, at nearly twice the average global rate, report says

2024-04-22 17:29 Last Updated At:17:50

NAPLES, Italy (AP) — Europe is the fastest-warming continent and its temperatures are rising at roughly twice the global average, two top climate monitoring organizations reported Monday, warning of the consequences for human health, glacier melt and economic activity.

The U.N.'s World Meteorological Organization and the European Union's climate agency, Copernicus, said in a joint report that the continent has the opportunity to develop targeted strategies to speed up the transition to renewable resources like wind, solar and hydroelectric power in response to the effects of climate change.

The continent generated 43% of its electricity from renewable resources last year, up from 36% the year before, the agencies say in their European State of the Climate report for last year. More energy in Europe was generated from renewables than from fossil fuels for the second year running.

The latest five-year averages show that temperatures in Europe are now running 2.3 degrees Celsius (4.1 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, compared to 1.3 degrees Celsius higher globally, the report says — just shy of the targets under the 2015 Paris climate accord to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“Europe saw yet another year of increasing temperatures and intensifying climate extremes — including heat stress with record temperatures, wildfires, heat waves, glacier ice loss and lack of snowfall,” said Elisabeth Hamdouch, the deputy head of unit for Copernicus at the EU’s executive commission.

The report serves up a continental complement for WMO's flagship state of the global climate report, which has been published annually for three decades, and this year came with a “red alert” warning that the world isn't doing enough to fight the consequences of global warming.

Copernicus has reported that March marked the 10th straight month of record monthly temperatures. The average sea-surface temperature for the ocean across Europe hit its highest annual level in 2023, the Europe report said.

The European report focuses this year on the impact of high temperatures on human health, noting that deaths related to heat have risen across the continent. It said more than 150 lives were lost directly last year in connection with storms, floods and wildfires.

The cost of weather- and climate-related economic losses in 2023 were estimated at more than 13.4 billion euros (about $14.3 billion).

“Hundreds of thousands of people were affected by extreme climate events in 2023, which have been responsible for large losses at continental level, estimated to be at least in the tens of billions of euros,” said Copernicus director Carlo Buontempo.

Extreme weather fanned heat waves, wildfires, droughts and flooding, the report said. High temperatures have contributed to a loss of glacier ice on the continent, including in the Alps — which have lost about 10% of their remaining glacier ice over the last two years.

Still, the report’s authors pointed to some exceptions, such as how temperatures were below average in Scandinavia and Iceland even if the mercury was higher than average across much of the continent as a whole.

FILE - A narrow boat sits in the floods of the river Thames in Oxford, England, Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024. Britain was hit by heavy rainfall last week following storm Henk, which led to flooding in parts of the UK. Europe is the fastest-warming continent and its temperatures are rising at roughly twice the global average, two top climate monitoring organizations reported Monday, April 22, 2024, warning of the consequences for human health, glacier melt and economic activity. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)

FILE - A narrow boat sits in the floods of the river Thames in Oxford, England, Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024. Britain was hit by heavy rainfall last week following storm Henk, which led to flooding in parts of the UK. Europe is the fastest-warming continent and its temperatures are rising at roughly twice the global average, two top climate monitoring organizations reported Monday, April 22, 2024, warning of the consequences for human health, glacier melt and economic activity. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)

FILE - People relax in the Retiro park in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, March 20, 2024. Copernicus has reported that March marked the 10th straight month of record monthly temperatures. Europe is the fastest-warming continent and its temperatures are rising at roughly twice the global average, two top climate monitoring organizations reported Monday, April 22, 2024, warning of the consequences for human health, glacier melt and economic activity. (AP Photo/Paul White, File)

FILE - People relax in the Retiro park in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday, March 20, 2024. Copernicus has reported that March marked the 10th straight month of record monthly temperatures. Europe is the fastest-warming continent and its temperatures are rising at roughly twice the global average, two top climate monitoring organizations reported Monday, April 22, 2024, warning of the consequences for human health, glacier melt and economic activity. (AP Photo/Paul White, File)

FILE - A lake of meltwater has formed on the tongue of the Rhone Glacier near Goms, Switzerland, on June 13, 2023. Europe is the fastest-warming continent and its temperatures are rising at roughly twice the global average, two top climate monitoring organizations reported Monday, April 22, 2024, warning of the consequences for human health, glacier melt and economic activity. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, File)

FILE - A lake of meltwater has formed on the tongue of the Rhone Glacier near Goms, Switzerland, on June 13, 2023. Europe is the fastest-warming continent and its temperatures are rising at roughly twice the global average, two top climate monitoring organizations reported Monday, April 22, 2024, warning of the consequences for human health, glacier melt and economic activity. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, File)

FILE - Burnt trees and a car after yesterday's fire in Mandra, west of Athens, on Wednesday, July 19, 2023. Europe is the fastest-warming continent and its temperatures are rising at roughly twice the global average, two top climate monitoring organizations reported Monday, April 22, 2024, warning of the consequences for human health, glacier melt and economic activity. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis, File)

FILE - Burnt trees and a car after yesterday's fire in Mandra, west of Athens, on Wednesday, July 19, 2023. Europe is the fastest-warming continent and its temperatures are rising at roughly twice the global average, two top climate monitoring organizations reported Monday, April 22, 2024, warning of the consequences for human health, glacier melt and economic activity. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis, File)

Next Article

Fani Willis and judge presiding over Georgia Trump election case defeat challengers

2024-05-22 10:09 Last Updated At:10:10

ATLANTA (AP) — Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, the Georgia prosecutor who brought a sprawling racketeering case against former President Donald Trump and others, has won the Democratic primary in her bid for reelection.

Willis defeated progressive attorney Christian Wise Smith in the primary election and is now set to face off against Republican Courtney Kramer in the fall. Willis told reporters after her victory that the voters sent a message that “people want a DA that is just, that treats everybody equally and that works hard, and they know that they have that in me.”

Meanwhile, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee, the judge who was randomly assigned to preside over the election interference case, also fended off a challenger, winning a nonpartisan election to keep his seat.

The Trump election case and racketeering cases against well-known rappers have boosted Willis’ public profile. But on Tuesday night she touted her efforts to fight violent crime by being tough on gang members while also saying she worked to give second chances to first offenders and created programs to catch at-risk youth before they get caught up in the criminal justice system.

“The people said yes to justice. The people said yes to safety. The people said yes to integrity. The people said yes to Fani Willis," Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said to applause Tuesday night at Willis' victory party.

With her name recognition, the advantages of incumbency and a hefty fundraising haul, Willis’ victory in the primary was not terribly surprising. As she moves on to the general election, the odds would seem to be in her favor as well. Fulton County includes most of the city of Atlanta and is heavily Democratic, about 73% of its voters having cast ballots for President Joe Biden in the 2020 election.

But Willis was taking nothing for granted after her primary win, telling supporters, “The campaign does not end tonight. It begins tonight.”

“My opponent is completely unqualified,” she said, later adding, “But while she is inexperienced and unqualified and does not represent the values of my county, don't get confused. She is a real threat because of who backs her and how they back her.”

Willis urged her supporters to continue to back her financially, noting that there was a store selling campaign merchandise onsite during her victory party.

Kramer, who has ties to some of Trump’s most prominent allies in Georgia and has drawn campaign contributions from both the county and state Republican parties, told reporters when she qualified to run that the Trump indictment prompted her to challenge Willis. In a post on the social media platform X earlier this month, she wrote, “The future of Fulton and safety in our community should not be controlled by self-interested politicians who use their office for political law fare. It’s time for a change.”

McAfee has been on the bench since last year when Republican Gov. Brian Kemp appointed him to fill an empty seat. He has since become one of the most high-profile judges in Georgia since he was randomly assigned last year to preside over the election interference case. With the added advantages of incumbency, strong bipartisan backing from heavy hitters and an impressive fundraising haul, he was the likely favorite to win.

Willis and Smith both worked in the Fulton County district attorney’s office under then-District Attorney Paul Howard. They both challenged their former boss in the Democratic primary in 2020. Willis and Howard advanced to a runoff that she won, and she ran unopposed in the November general election that year.

Kramer ran unopposed in the Republican primary Tuesday and has already been focusing her attention on attacking Willis. A lawyer who interned in the Trump White House, she has ties to some of the former president's prominent allies in Georgia.

Kramer and her backers will undoubtedly continue to focus on what even some of Willis' closest allies have seen as a major misstep — her romantic relationship with a special prosecutor she hired for the election case. Claims by defense attorneys in the case that the romance created a conflict of interest threatened to derail the prosecution.

McAfee ultimately ruled that it did not create a conflict of interest that should disqualify Willis, but he said she could only continue the case if the special prosecutor, Nathan Wade, stepped aside. Wade promptly left the case, but a defense appeal of McAfee's ruling is now pending before the Georgia Court of Appeals.

Wade was among those gathered at an event space in Atlanta's Buckhead neighborhood Tuesday evening to celebrate Willis' win.

Willis obtained an indictment in August against Trump and 18 others, accusing them of participating in an alleged illegal scheme to overturn Trump's narrow loss in the 2020 presidential election in Georgia. Four people have pleaded guilty after reaching deals with prosecutors. Trump and the 14 others who remain have pleaded not guilty.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis speaks after winning re-election in the Democratic primary on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Buckhead, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis speaks after winning re-election in the Democratic primary on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Buckhead, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis speaks to the media after winning the Democratic primary on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Buckhead, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis speaks to the media after winning the Democratic primary on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Buckhead, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis speaks after winning re-election in the Democratic primary on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Buckhead, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis speaks after winning re-election in the Democratic primary on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Buckhead, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis celebrates winning re-election in the primary on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Buckhead, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis celebrates winning re-election in the primary on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Buckhead, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens takes a photograph with Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis before she speaks and after winning re-election in the primary on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Buckhead, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens takes a photograph with Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis before she speaks and after winning re-election in the primary on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Buckhead, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis celebrates with supporters after winning re-election in the primary on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Buckhead, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis celebrates with supporters after winning re-election in the primary on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Buckhead, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis arrives before she speaks after winning re-election in the primary on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Buckhead, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis arrives before she speaks after winning re-election in the primary on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Buckhead, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis arrives before she speaks after winning re-election in the primary on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Buckhead, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis arrives before she speaks after winning re-election in the primary on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, in Buckhead, Ga. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

In this photo combination of file images, Fulton County Superior Judge Scott McAfee presides in court, left, while Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, right, looks on during a hearing on the Georgia election interference case, March, 1, 2024, in Atlanta. (AP Photos/Alex Slitz)

In this photo combination of file images, Fulton County Superior Judge Scott McAfee presides in court, left, while Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, right, looks on during a hearing on the Georgia election interference case, March, 1, 2024, in Atlanta. (AP Photos/Alex Slitz)

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