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extreme events climate italy increase where and when

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Legambiente presents its report on the climate in Italy and its irreversible evolution. In the first ten months of 2022, between floods, storms, landslides, drought and scorching temperatures, there were 254 extreme weather events in our country. An alarming figure since, translated into a percentage, it means 27% more than for the whole of 2021.

In the Legambiente climate report – The climate has already changed by the CittàClima Observatory 2022 – a comparison is then made over the last 13 years. From 2010 to today, 1,503 extreme events have occurred in Italy. 780 municipalities were affected and 279 people lost their lives. Among the regions that have suffered the most from the effects of climate change are Sicily, with 175 extreme events, Lombardy (166), Lazio (136), Puglia (112), Emilia-Romagna (111), Tuscany (107) and Veneto (101).

Photo Ansa

Of 1,503 extreme weather events over the past 13 years, 529 – or about a third – were floods due to heavy rain as the main event. They become 768 if we consider the secondary effects of other extreme events, such as hailstorms and floods. There are also 531 cases of infrastructure shutdowns with 89 days of metros and urban trains being blocked. Legambiente also calculates 387 events with tornado damage.

Italian cities most affected

Cities are also suffering from climate change. From Rome, where there were 66 extreme events – 6 last year alone – more than half of which involved flooding following heavy rains to Bari with 42 events. Even in the case of the capital of Puglia, the effects of the distorted climate that we are experiencing are mainly reflected in floods due to heavy rains – in 20 cases – and damage due to tornadoes (17 cases). Agrigento follows, with 32 cases including 15 floods, and Milan, with 30 events and at least 20 floods from the Seveso and Lambro rivers.

Flood in Limone Piemonte (Cn) with damage to homes and road interruptions, November 23, 2021. Photo Ansa

A photograph described as “disturbing” by Legambiente on the last day of Cop27, the UN climate conference, in Egypt. The association asks the Meloni government and the Minister of Environment and Energy Security, Gilberto Pichetto Fratin, to update and approve by the end of the year the National Plan for Adaptation to Climate Change (PNACC), which has been in the pipeline since 2018. To date, 24 European countries have adopted a national or sectoral climate adaptation plan.

Climate and prevention, Italy lagging behind

“Italy was notably absent, which over the last 9 years has spent 13.3 billion euros in funds allocated to weather and climate emergencies,” says Legambiente. Money that our country has spent in an unintelligent way, since the average is “1.48 billion per year for the management of emergencies, in a ratio of almost 1 to 4 between expenditure on prevention and that of repairing damage”.

“In the fight against the climate crisis, Italy has been lagging behind for too many years,” said Legambiente national president Stefano Ciafani. Our country “continues to chase emergencies without a clear prevention strategy, which would save 75% of economic resources spent on damage caused by extreme events”. That is to say “floods, rains and landslides, and does not approve of the National Climate Adaptation Plan, which has been stuck in a drawer in the Ministry of the Environment since 2018”. This fall, the devastating floods in the Marches and Sicily. There is no more time to lose.

Drought last summer on the Po, in Ficarolo (Ro). Photo Ansa/Riccardo Dalle Luche

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