Tuesday, 10th July 2012
The costs of extreme weather for the European transport systems
Source: VTT Technical Research Centre (Finland)
From the Summary:
Europe will each year face extreme weather costs of more than 15 billion euros, based on our calculations which rely on some strong assumptions. However, we believe that this is the magnitude that should be kept in mind when addressing climate change issues. The good news is that it seems that the global warming will reduce these costs, unless the weather extremes become even more violent than what they are at present. Warming climate will reduce many costs in maintenance and also improve the safety of the transport system. What remains very uncertain, are the counter-effects of warming. This analysis brought very little light on that and we feel that the investigation should seriously go to this direction. Warming might include consequences not yet clearly seen.
The most vulnerable transport system segment also in terms of costs is the road system. This is because of the sheer volume of transports that take their routes via roads. The most significant cost issue is traffic safety on roads. However, the trends point so far to the positive direction and these trends clearly out-weigh any extreme weather impacts.
There is a high risk though that the transport system, as the volumes of freight and passengers are growing and the infrastructure capacity is getting scarcer, will become much more unreliable to serve transports-in-time. The time sensitiveness of the system will become a greater issue in the future, if pure transport economic consequences of extreme weather phenomena are looked at. Time losses are particularly relevant to EU’s supply chains. The EU’s shippers suffer losses of billions of euros each year due to time delays resulted by extreme weather, and this analysis suggests that these costs are on the rise.
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By Adrian Janes
Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes is currently an Information Services Librarian with the London Borough of Havering.
In this role, he has particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by Free Pint Ltd. in 2007. He is also involved in training and publicising online reference resources and is a regular contributor to DocuTicker.
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