24 April 2019

Italy Seventh in World for Catastrophe Damage

natural disasters

Ultimatum to Earth: Floods, earthquakes and climate change

In Italy the effects of climate change have become increasingly evident. Indeed, Italy is among the ten most affected in the world by natural disasters.

Drought, rising temperatures, floods, storms, and earthquakes threaten man at every latitude. It’s not a phenomenon referring to “poor” countries. In Europe and in Italy itself, in recent years, the effects of climate change have become increasingly evident and dangerous, so much so that we end up among the ten countries most affected by natural disasters.

Mass migration due to climate change increases more and more. But migration mustn’t be the only problem to tackle in regards to environmental issues and disasters in 2018. Risk and prevention must be the basis of political intervention at all levels, in terms of the environment .

ONU (United Nations Organization) has repeatedly stated that “Indigenous knowledge is indispensable for many societies that seek to live in harmony with nature and adapt to destructive atmospheric events”. There are almost 20 million displaced people in the world due to environmental causes. And hundreds of millions of people have fled their countries in recent years due to extreme weather events.

Climate disasters, 151% in losses in the last 20 years

Economic losses due to natural disasters linked to climate change have increased by 151% in the last twenty years (1998-2017) compared to the previous twenty years (1978-1997). Italy is seventh in the ranking of countries in the world that suffered more damage from natural disasters since 1998.

A study conducted by Unisdr and Cred revealed this, which takes into consideration earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, extreme temperatures, floods and droughts.

Indeed, the greatest losses in the last twenty years have been recorded in the United States (944,8 billion), followed by China (492,2), Japan (376,3), India (79,5), Puerto Rico (71,7), Germany (57,9), Italy (56,6), Thailand (52,4), Mexico (46,5) and France (43,3).

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Overheating in Italy, the effects on agriculture and the considerations of President of Coldiretti Roberto Moncalvo

Overheating is also evident in Italy, where a temperature of more than 1.53 degrees is recorded, the historical average in 2018 which is ranked as the most boiling year since 1800. All this determines a process that’s accompanied by a progressive tropical climate with the multiplication of extreme events that have caused damage to the agricultural sector, according to Coldiretti, up to now 600 million euros.
“Agriculture is the economic activity that, more than any other, lives the consequences of climate change on a daily basis, but it’s also the sector most committed to combating them – says Coldiretti President Roberto Moncalvo – climate change imposes a new challenge for agricultural enterprises that have to interpret the innovations reported by meteorology and the effects on crop cycles, water management and land safety .”

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Global warming: a threat

On Oct. 8, in Incheon, South Korea, the most relevant scientific study of this historical era was presented. Drafted by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (Ipcc) of ONU, it’s a report that summarizes the data collected in the analysis of over 6 thousand scientific research and illustrates the world to which we’ll meet if we do not reach the target set from the Paris agreement, in force since 2016, within 12 years. With this agreement, also called Cop21, the signatory countries have committed themselves to field significant measures to limit the overheating of the climate, maintaining temperatures between one and a half degrees and two degrees above the pre-industrial levels.

Natural disasters

At the moment, the thermostat already scores + 1 ° C with respect to the aforementioned limit, leaving us with a margin of maneuver of only half a degree. But just this half-degree, explain the over 90 scientists appointed by ONU – and Nobel Peace Prize winners in 2007 – can make a huge difference. It can save between 70% and 90% of the coral reefs, which at 2° C would cease to exist; can reduce the sea rise by 10 cm, allowing more than 10 million people to escape the risks related to land erosion; it can decrease the drama of climatic events such as heat waves, drought and tropical cyclones; it can slow down the melting of the permafrost and guarantee the survival of various animal and plant species. It means preserving the world, at least in part, as we know it today. Even Italy has ratified the agreement, albeit late, approving it in Parliament despite the League voted against.

Eleonora Boccuni

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