Germany floods: All fingers point at climate change - GulfToday

Germany floods: All fingers point at climate change


Image used for illustrative purpose only.

It is a catastrophe no doubt but on a colossal scale. The floods in Europe have, like the coronavirus, upended thousands of lives in a devastating way. Over 120 people have died and thousands rendered homeless as it started bucketing down over German cities and other metropolitan areas in other European nations.

This looks like a war zone from a Hollywood movie. Clearly, it was disaster with a capital D in every sense of the word. Homes buried in muddy waters, cars piled up on each other, bridges collapsing.

Countries such as Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands have also been badly impacted.

One wonders why a highly developed economic powerhouse of a nation like Germany would be suffering so much from Nature’s fury.

The answer is not far to seek. Blame it on climate change. That’s what German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer feels. He said the extreme weather was the result of climate change.

Finance Minister Olaf Scholz was scheduled to propose a package of immediate aid at a Cabinet meeting; he said more than 300 million euros would be needed.

There was also flooding on Saturday night in the German-Czech border area.

Utility services were badly damaged, with telephone and electricity lines utterly non-functional. Minor streets had transformed into angry torrents that washed away cars, destroyed homes and trapped many locals.

There is nothing remaining for the residents but simply hope.

In a town southwest of Cologne, the ground in a neighbourhood gave way, At least three houses and part of a mansion collapsed. Rescue workers worked round the clock in damage control efforts, as the focus shifted to restoring structures destroyed in no time.

Neighbouring Belgium claimed over 20 lives, while Luxembourg and the Netherlands were badly impacted, with thousands of civilians in Maastricht being moved to safer areas.

Weather pundits were shocked by the sheer force with which the skies over Germany opened, unleashing a trail of devastation in the country. Though it was initially not known for sure whether climate change caused the damaging floods, the perception that extremes in weather, be it in the US or Canada or Siberia, are the culprits seems to be gaining rapid currency.

One professor of ocean physics at a Germany university, referring to the recent heat records set in the US and Canada, said these extreme fluctuations in climate trends would not have taken place without any spoor or trace of global warming.

Such was the force of floodwaters that people were being sucked away in some European countries the way a vacuum cleaner imbibes dust while cleaning a room.

There is another issue here: the tendency for storms to linger in one area for long periods, thus disposing increasing rain on a small swathe of the world.

Even if GHGs, or greenhouse gases, are dramatically reduced in the coming years, there is so much carbon dioxide and other planet-heating gases still in the atmosphere that it is bound to lead to wild climate swings, making lives of the people miserable.

Experts say such natural disasters will impact those that do not ready themselves for such situations.

One professor has called for beefing up the environment so that it becomes more immune to the vagaries of climate change.

Those that don’t adapt will risk greater loss of life and damage to property.

As the phrase goes, ‘Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.’ One has to be perennially ready for such strikes of nature. Because one just cannot measure the magnitude of the scale of such attacks.

The important thing is to maintain a perpetual preparedness for such drastic twists in the weather.

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