In Spectator World, Nicholas Farrell explains that all the carbon emission cutting in the world won’t save Italy from floods like the one it is currently experiencing. The country needs proper flood defenses. Farrell writes:
The torrential rain — half a year’s worth in thirty-six hours — burst the banks of twenty-one rivers in the region, nearly all in the Romagna. It turned roads into rivers, and left cities, towns, and villages under up to six feet of water.
Incredibly, only fourteen people have died. But vast areas of agricultural land have been turned into gigantic temporary lakes and, for the foreseeable future, rendered useless. In the Apennines, thirty miles from us, there have been hundreds of landslides that have cut off towns and villages. In the Emilia-Romagna region, whose capital is Bologna, more than 600 roads remain completely or partially closed.
Many on the left are blaming not just man-made climate change for the catastrophe but even Italy’s right-wing prime minister for what has unfolded on her watch. The guru of the Italian left, Roberto Saviano, author of the cult book about the Neapolitan Mafia Gomorrah, tweeted: “To deny climate change as this government does… is a deadly serious act thanks to which today thousands of Italian citizens… are paying a heavy price.”
Such a statement is frankly ridiculous. Meloni has been in power for only seven months — and the left were in power before her, more or less of continuously since 2011. But anyway, while she, like so many of us, might wonder if climate change really is man-made, or if green solutions will actually change the climate, she does not deny it is taking place.
It is hard to blame her when the UN’s IPCC itself — the climate change oracle — is far from clear about the nature of the beast, as a close reading of its much vaunted 2021 report reminds us. Even with “strong and sustained reductions” in the global carbon footprint, it concludes, “it could take twenty-to-thirty years for global temperatures to stabilize.”
So even with net zero, we are probably stuck with extreme weather events, says the IPCC, as the temperature will merely stabilise and not come down. Or am I missing something?
As for the damage done by these floods, if anyone is to blame it is the left, not Meloni. Why? Because since World War Two, Emilia-Romagna has been the left’s stronghold where it has governed regionally and locally, first via the Partito Comunista Italiano (PCI) and now its heir the Partito Democratico (PD). Italy’s communists were so proud of how they ran the economy in the Emilia-Romagna that they even coined a phrase to describe it: il Modello Emilio-Romagnolo (the Emilia-Romagna Model). Theirs was an early, albeit more hard left version of the public-private partnerships promoted by Bill Clinton and Tony Blair when they launched their Third Way.
Clearly, this model has failed to provide sound flood defenses. And nor did it provide the much-needed reservoirs to receive flood water in case of emergencies. As a recent front page headline in the right-wing newspaper Libero proclaimed: “Sotto Acqua Il Modello PD!” (“PD Model Under Water!”).
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