Around one-third of the European Union (EU) population lives within 50 km of the coast. Extreme sea levels in Europe could rise by as much as one meter or more by the end of this century. This report argues that without mitigation and adaptation measures, annual damages from coastal flooding in the EU and the United Kingdom (UK) could increase sharply from 1.4 €billion nowadays to almost 240 €billion by 2100. Around 95% of these impacts could be avoided through moderate mitigation and by raising dykes where human settlements and economically important areas exist along the coastline.
The authors report damages from coastal flooding are projected to rise sharply with global warming for all EU countries with a coastline if current levels of coastal protection are not raised. Annual damages grow to 239 €billion (0.52% of the GDP for EU+UK projected in 2100) and 111 €billion (0.24% GDP) in 2100 under a high emissions scenario and a moderate mitigation scenario respectively (Table 1), when assuming socioeconomic development according to the 2015 Ageing Report. The largest absolute damages are projected for Germany, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands and UK. For some countries the damages represent a considerable proportion of future national GDP, e.g. 4.9% (Cyprus), 3.2% (Greece) and 2.5% (Denmark) by 2100 (high emissions).