Earlier this month, the German Greens unveiled an election poster designed to reassure voters who might be wary of their environmental radicalism. “Economy and climate without crisis”, went its slogan, suggesting that ambitious carbon reduction targets could be met without undue pain for jobs and industry. Days later, ecological crisis struck, in the form of the devastating floods that have overwhelmed western Germany, and parts of Belgium and the Netherlands. More than 190 people are so far known to have died, following flooding of an intensity and scale that has shocked scientists. The record levels of rain in north-west Europe followed record-breaking heat in the Americas. Extreme weather events are becoming the new normal, as climate models have long predicted. But some of the recent spikes have outstripped scientific predictions. The eventual impact of the floods on Germany’s September election remains to be seen. But this disaster, which the country’s main political parties have broadly agreed was related to global warming, has thrust the climate crisis to the forefront of the campaign. On Sunday, Angela Merkel, who is standing down as chancellor, insisted that Germany needed to “up the pace in the fight against climate change”. The Greens have so far failed to seize the moment to make the case for a step change in levels of green investment in Germany, and at EU level. Meanwhile, the CDU’s manifesto, published last month, shows little sign of the economic radicalism necessary to deal with the climate emergency. As well as learning to cope and adjust to extreme weather events linked to global heating, there is a need to treat them as a warning of even worse to come if the world does not properly invest in a green future. In the autumn, Germany has an opportunity to give a lead.
Guardian 19th July 2021 read more »
The impact of floods in western Europe represents a “monumental failure” that “should have been avoided,” a scientist has said. Germany, Belgium and other western European nations have suffered severe flooding leading to widespread destruction and devastation. The death toll from the floods topped 180 on Sunday. Some 157 people were confirmed dead in Germany and 31 died in Belgium. Professor Hannah Cloke OBE, Professor of Hydrology at the University of Reading, has said the destruction “should have been avoided” after forecasters issued alerts prior to the floods.
Independent 19th July 2021 read more »