Europe Is the Fastest-Warming Continent in the World, New Report Reveals

Michael Hubrich via Getty Images
Michael Hubrich via Getty Images

A new report urges Europe to invest in more renewable energy after it was reveled to be the fastest-warming continent—heating up at approximately twice the global average.

According to the joint report by the U.N.’s World Meteorological Organization and the European Union’s climate agency, Copernicus, Europe has seen a rise in renewable resources in 12 months–accounting for 43 percent of electricity generated in 2023 in comparison to 36 percent in 2022. More energy was generated from renewables than from fossil fuels in Europe for the second consecutive year.

But not all of the news is so good. 2023 was the second-warmest year on record for Europe, at 1.02–1.12°C above average, according to the report. Meanwhile, Europe has recorded the three warmest years on record since 2020, and the 10 warmest since 2007. Temperatures in Europe were also above average for 11 months of the year, with September the warmest on record.

In the oceans, the average sea surface temperature across Europe was the warmest on record, with parts of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean seeing their warmest annual average temperatures on record.

“In 2023, Europe witnessed the largest wildfire ever recorded, one of the wettest years, severe marine heatwaves and widespread devastating flooding,” said Carlo Buontempo, director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts. “Temperatures continue to increase, making our data ever more vital in preparing for the impacts of climate change.”

According to the report, almost all land areas across Europe, Greenland, North America, Africa, South America and East Antarctica experienced above-average temperatures last year.

Temperatures for the year as a whole were at least 1°C higher than average over much of Europe and North America, and several other regions, the report said.

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