The EEA study does not paint a bright picture for Portugal, and while it focuses on damage and cost of past weather events, the forecast remains bleak.
Southern and south-eastern Europe is projected to be a climate change hotspot, as it is expected to face the highest number of adverse impacts, the EEA report reveals.
“This region is already experiencing large increases in heat extremes and decreases in precipitation and river flows, which have heightened the risk of more severe droughts, lower crop yields, biodiversity loss and forest fires”, researchers found, warning further that more frequent heatwaves and changes in the distribution of climate-sensitive infectious diseases are expected to increase risks to human health and well-being.
Coastal areas and floodplains in western parts of Europe are also seen as hotspots as they face an increased risk of flooding from rising sea levels and a possible increase in storm surges.
The EEA report also says that climate change is leading to major changes in marine ecosystems as a result of ocean acidification, warming, and the expansion of oxygen-depleted dead zones.
According to the economic analysis of Portugal conducted by the EEA, the cost of climate change was fixed at 6.783 billion euros up until 2013. However, only four percent, or 300 million euros, was covered by insurance.
Meanwhile, the EEA says that heatwaves have become more frequent and intense, leading to tens of thousands of premature deaths in Europe. This trend is projected to increase and to intensify, unless appropriate adaptation measures are taken. The spread of tick species, the Asian tiger mosquito and other disease carriers increases the risk of Lyme disease, tick-borne encephalitis, West Nile fever, dengue, chikungunya and leishmaniasis.
“Climate change will continue for many decades to come”, Hans Bruyninckx, EEA Executive Director, said this week, adding: “The scale of future climate change and its impacts will depend on the effectiveness of implementing our global agreements to cut greenhouse gas emissions, but also ensuring that we have the right adaptation strategies and policies in place to reduce the risks from current and projected climate extremes.”
In terms of the effects of climate change, in 2016, Portugal broke weather records in June, July, August and September, with temperatures reaching record highs, while rainfall was exceptionally low.
Figures showed that July 2016 was the second hottest on record, and was only beaten by temperatures reached in 1989.
Average maximum temperatures were also the highest ever in July, with highs of 32.19 degrees, almost four degrees above what would normally be expected for the month of July.
June 2016 was also the hottest since records were first logged.
Overall, one in four weather stations on mainland Portugal recorded a temperature of 40 degrees on at least one occasion between the final fortnight of June and the beginning of July. Portugal has in recent years smashed a host of weather records.
December 2015 had been the second warmest December in Portugal since records began in 1931, while the whole of 2015 was the second warmest in the past 15 years, and the fourth driest.
Meanwhile, 2015 also recorded the hottest November in the last 34 years in Portugal, with a heatwave in some parts of the mainland, though the month will be remembered for the flooding across the Algarve which caused severe damage in places like Albufeira.
Average temperatures in Portugal have in the last 40 years increased at a rate of 0.5 degrees per decade - twice as fast as globally.
However, it is not all bad news, and Portugal was recently placed as one of the top ten countries in the world when it comes to fighting climate change.
The Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI), compiled by German Watch and the European Climate Action Network says Portugal’s performance is explained as mostly being the result of a significant development in renewable energies.
Researchers who compiled the rankings would also have taken note that the country ran on renewable energy alone for four straight days earlier this year.
The extraordinary feat was achieved between 7 and 11 May, and Portugal was even able to export excess renewable energy during the period.
The non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) known as Zero said this proves that Portugal could be even more ambitious in moving from electrical power to being 100 percent renewable, which it said would result in enormous reductions in harmful greenhouse gas emissions.