What’s Happening in Greece: A State of Emergency29/09/2023
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Last May, disastrous flooding in the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna displaced more than 36,000 people and killed 14. Violent rains caused rivers to overflow, flooding streets, and civil, commercial, and productive structures with mud and water.
The umbrellas had not yet dried when an intense debate began in the country regarding the causes of the disaster: were these exceptional atmospheric events due to climate change or poor maintenance of the territory and riverbanks?
Although it is too early to have definitive data, it is now clear that increased atmospheric concentrations of CO2 are leading to more frequent and harsh weather events. Italy has been experiencing years of severe drought, making the soil arid and compact, and less capable of absorbing water. The exacerbation of the situation can also be attributed to two other factors: excessive urbanization and extensive overbuilding in large areas.
As Ferdinando Cotugno wrote in the Italian daily newspaper Domani: “There were 310 extreme events in 2022, an increase of 55% from the previous year, including 104 floods, 81 tornadoes, 29 hailstorms, and 13 river floods.” We are already deeply entrenched in the climate crisis and must adapt our territories while mitigating emissions”.
In September, on the other side of the Mediterranean, violent flooding struck a particularly vulnerable country, Libya, with devastating consequences. There are thousands of deaths and tens of thousands missing—truly a humanitarian catastrophe. “This will happen more and more as the climate warms,” said Matthew Brubacher, a Libyan climate change expert, in the New York Times on September 13, “Everything is falling apart.”
It’s time to act. It’s time to loudly demand change.