SHARE
COPY LINK

CLIMATE CRISIS

Climate crisis: Italy records ‘five times’ more extreme weather events in ten years

The wave of severe storms currently hitting Italy has taken the number of extreme weather events this summer up to 1,642 - five times the number recorded a decade ago, records show.

Bad weather in Montpellier, France
Incidents including flash floods and lightning strikes are becoming more common in Italy, data shows. Pascal GUYOT / AFP

The figures were released by Italy’s farmers’ association Coldiretti on Thursday, based on data from the European Severe Weather Database (ESWD) recording events including tornadoes, flash floods, sudden rainstorms (known as bombe d’acqua), giant hail and damaging lightning strikes.

“The long hot summer, characterized by drought, was interrupted several times by violent rainfall,” Coldiretti pointed out.

READ ALSO: ‘A code red’: Will Europeans change their habits after climate crisis ‘reality check’?

“This multiplication of extreme events has caused over six billion euros’ worth of damage to agriculture in 2022, 10 percent of the (value of) national production,” the farming association said.

“We are seeing the clear consequences of climate change, as exceptional weather events are now the norm in Italy too, with a tendency towards tropicalization manifesting as more frequent violent events, seasonal shifts, short, intense bouts of precipitation, the quick change from sunshine to bad weather, with significant changes in temperature that compromises crops.”

At least seven people were reported dead on Friday morning following flash floods in the central Marche region as the latest wave of bad weather swept the country.

Severe storms hit many central and northern regions on Friday morning, including Umbria, Abruzzo, Tuscany, Lazio, Liguria, Lombardy, and Molise, with bad weather spreading south.

File photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

Italy, along with much of the rest of mainland Europe, has suffered a series of heatwaves this summer that have fuelled forest fires and drained rivers.

The extreme conditions this summer caused a spike in heat-related deaths in Italy, and worsened the most severe drought the country had experienced in 70 years.

Average temperatures of between two and three degrees above the seasonal average were consistently recorded across the country between May and June, with spikes of up to 10 degrees in some areas.

The collapse of Italy’s country’s largest Alpine glacier in July also triggered an avalanche that killed 11 people.

“The year 2022 in terms of extreme climate events is code red,” said the head of Italian environmental group Legambiente, Stefano Ciafani, in an August report.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

CLIMATE CRISIS

Italian climate activists throw flour over Andy Warhol car

Italian environmental group Ultima Generazione on Friday poured flour over a sports car painted by Andy Warhol on display in Milan, in the latest of a wave of protests demanding action on climate change.

Italian climate activists throw flour over Andy Warhol car

Protesters entered the Fabbrica del Vapore exhibition space in Milan at around 11am on Friday morning and threw eight kilos of flour over a BMW sports car painted by the late Andy Warhol back in 1979. 

Two members of the environmental group Ultima Generazione (‘Last Generation’) then proceeded to glue their hands to the car’s windows. 

At the time of writing it wasn’t clear whether the artwork, valued at 10 million euros, had suffered any significant damage.

“They told us beauty will save the world, but that’s bullshit,” Ultima Generazione sad in a statement released immediately afterwards.

“Only immediate and radical actions to tackle the effects of the current climate crisis will change the world as we know it.”

Activists from Italy’s Ultima Generazione after their latest protest in Milan on Friday, November 18th. Photo: Ultima Generazione.

In the same statement, the group referred to the Italian government’s handling of the environmental crisis as “criminal”, accusing people in power of “endangering people’s lives”.

Friday’s episode was only the latest in a series of demonstrations seeking to jolt public opinion over the consequences of climate change and the need to make the switch to renewable energy sources.

READ ALSO: Climate activists hurl pea soup at Van Gogh painting in Rome

Only two weeks ago, on November 4th, protesters from the same group hurled pea soup at a Van Gogh painting in Rome – an action which Italy’s new culture minister, Gennaro Sangiuliano, later condemned as “ignoble”. 

Ultima Generazione began in 2021 as a “campaign of nonviolent civil disobedience” aimed at uniting Italian activists concerned about climate change and the future of the planet.

The group has two main demands. Firstly, they ask that the reopening of old coal power plants be paused immediately and that all scheduled fracking operations be cancelled. 

Secondly, they want an increase in the use of solar energy and wind power equivalent to at least 20 gigawatts. 

Ultima Generazione is part of a EU-wide network of climate activists who have been recently targeting world-famous artworks, including Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” in The Hague, Netherlands and Gustav Klimt’s “Death and Life” in Vienna.

SHOW COMMENTS