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Storms and heavy rainfall have caused significant flooding in northern Italy, with cities like Padua and Vicenza heavily affected. Emergency services have been using dinghies to rescue residents, and footage shows cars floating in the streets. The governor of the Veneto region described the severe weather as a “water bomb.” In contrast, southern Italy, including Sicily, is experiencing an unusual heat wave with temperatures reaching up to 35°C.

Professor Marco Marani from the University of Padua, an expert on climate change, told Corriere del Veneto that extreme weather events are becoming more frequent due to global warming. In Padua, the banks of the Muson dei Sassi river collapsed, causing severe flooding. In Borgo Mantovano, Lombardy, a freight train was overturned by gusts up to 200 km/h. Milan saw 130 mm of rain in one day, leading to flash floods, the most intense May rainfall in over 170 years.

The Veneto region declared a state of red alert, particularly between Vicenza and Verona, where 70 mm of rain fell in 30 minutes, causing water basins to overflow. One person is missing in Como after a bridge collapse.

In the south, Sardinia is experiencing dry conditions, adversely affecting wheat harvests, and water restrictions are expected later in the summer. Prof. Marani emphasized the scientific evidence linking increased frequency of extreme weather events to climate change, underscoring the need to revise water defense calculations and manage climate change effectively.

A recent State of the Climate report by the EU climate agency Copernicus and the World Meteorological Organization highlighted the urgency of climate action and improved flood defenses, noting that in 2023, one-third of European rivers breached high flood thresholds, with 16% surpassing severe levels.

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A group of elderly Swiss women have achieved a significant victory in the European Court of Human Rights, marking the first climate case success in the court’s history. These women, primarily in their 70s, emphasized their vulnerability to the impacts of heatwaves associated with climate change due to their age and gender.

The court criticized Switzerland for its insufficient efforts in meeting emission reduction goals, deeming them inadequate. This ruling holds significance as it’s the first time the court has addressed the issue of global warming.

Greta Thunberg, the Swedish activist, joined in the celebration with other activists at the court in Strasbourg. One of the leaders of the Swiss women, Rosemarie Wydler-Walti, expressed disbelief at the victory, highlighting its magnitude.

The court’s decision carries legal weight and could potentially influence legislation in 46 European countries, including the UK. It found Switzerland in breach of its duties under the Convention concerning climate change, noting deficiencies in the country’s climate policies, such as failure to quantify reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

The group of Swiss women, known as KlimaSeniorinnen or Senior Women for Climate Protection, argued that they faced health risks during heatwaves in Switzerland and were unable to leave their homes. Data showed that March of the same year marked the world’s warmest, continuing a trend of record-breaking temperatures.

However, the court dismissed similar cases brought by Portuguese youths and a former French mayor, who also claimed that European governments were not acting swiftly enough to address climate change, thus violating their rights.

Elisabeth Smart, a member of KlimaSeniorinnen at 76 years old, highlighted her lifelong observations of climate change in Switzerland, having grown up on a farm. Despite the nine-year commitment to the case, she emphasized the innate drive within some individuals to take action rather than remain passive.

While governments worldwide have committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions significantly, experts and activists warn that progress remains slow, jeopardizing efforts to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C.

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The Spanish region of Catalonia is grappling with its most severe drought on record, prompting the declaration of a state of emergency. With reservoirs dwindling to just 16% of their capacity, over six million residents across 200 towns, including Barcelona, will be subject to stringent water usage restrictions. Measures include bans on car washing and filling swimming pools, as well as significant reductions in water consumption for agriculture and industry.

The severity of the drought is evident in towns like Berga, where residents like Anna Casòliva Freixe, who operates a bakery, express concerns about the lack of water for both essential needs and daily activities. Catalonia, bordering southern France, is unaccustomed to such conditions, and there are considerations to bring in water by ship to Barcelona if local sources run dry, a measure previously taken in 2008.

While the Catalan government had implemented a drought strategy in 2021 to diversify water sources and reduce reliance on reservoirs, the escalating crisis necessitated the imposition of emergency measures. The government acknowledges the possibility of the drought being linked to climate change, given the region’s vulnerability to dry spells and the Mediterranean’s temperature rising 20% faster than the global average.

In Barcelona, the impact of the drought is less immediately visible than in the surrounding mountains, but measures like turning off decorative fountains and restricting watering of gardens have been in effect for a year. As the region, including Barcelona, faces water shortages, concerns arise about its status as a top tourist destination. With over 12 million visitors in 2023, tourism authorities are adapting to the water scarcity by implementing measures in hotels and urging visitors to use water judiciously. Despite preparations, many Catalans express a sense that the situation may worsen, emphasizing the need for a collective reduction in water consumption.

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Francisco José García de Zúñiga, a farmer in Jaén, Spain, is facing a challenging harvest season due to consecutive years of drought in 2022 and 2023. Jaén is a crucial region for olive oil production, with Spain being the world’s largest producer, contributing to 70% of European Union consumption and 45% globally.

The persistent lack of rain in olive-producing areas like Jaén has led to a significant impact on both the quantity and price of olive oil. Mr García de Zúñiga emphasizes that Spain’s challenges affect global production, adhering to the basic law of supply and demand. As Spain produces less oil, global supply decreases, and if demand remains constant, prices rise.

In Spain, olive oil prices have surged by over 70% this year, following a substantial increase in 2022. Factors contributing to this surge include rising costs of fuel, electricity, and fertilizers over the past two years, but the primary factor is the extended period of drought. The Nuestra Señora del Pilar cooperative, one of the world’s largest olive oil factories, experienced a severely low olive harvest in the 2022-23 season.

Cristóbal Gallego Martínez, the cooperative’s president, highlights the impact of climate change on traditional agricultural assumptions. Dry periods are lasting longer, and the usual cycle of poor and good harvests is disrupted. He calls for government measures, such as investing in irrigation systems, to address the changing climate patterns.

The rise in olive oil prices is not limited to Spain, as it has been observed across Europe. Some neighboring countries have seen a less sharp increase, leading to Spaniards crossing borders to purchase slightly cheaper oil. The UK and Ireland, for instance, have lower prices due to having bought oil at a lower cost several months ago.

Despite the economic considerations, experts warn against opting for cheaper alternatives, as olive oil is a vital component of the Mediterranean diet, known for its health benefits. Lower-cost alternatives, such as sunflower oil, might lead to a loss in nutritional value. Fernando López-Segura, from Córdoba’s Reina Sofía hospital, underscores the cardiovascular benefits of consuming [virgin extra] olive oil, emphasizing the importance of maintaining its place in the Mediterranean diet. However, current consumption trends are influenced not only by health considerations but also by the unpredictable patterns of rainfall.

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In this news article, French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his stance on the conflict in Gaza. He condemned the bombing of civilians in Gaza, stating that there is “no justification” for it, and called for a ceasefire, emphasizing the need to protect civilians. Macron also condemned the actions of Hamas, recognizing it as a terrorist organization, while urging other leaders, including those in the US and the UK, to join his calls for a ceasefire.

On the topic of Ukraine, Macron characterized Russia’s invasion as imperialism and colonialism, emphasizing the duty of his country and others to support Ukraine in its defense. He warned of the potential threat posed by a victorious Russia to other former Soviet states and the entire continent.

Macron also discussed online extremism, singling out Facebook’s parent company Meta and Google for not fulfilling their promises to moderate hate speech on their platforms. He expressed concern about insufficient moderators for French language content on many online platforms.

Regarding climate change, Macron mentioned its role in contributing to terrorism, citing the example of Lake Chad in West Africa, where the effects of global warming led to political instability.

In summary, Macron called for a ceasefire in Gaza, condemned the actions of both Israel and Hamas, expressed support for Ukraine against Russia’s invasion, criticized online platforms for inadequate moderation, and highlighted the link between climate change and terrorism in certain regions.

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Around 3,000 individuals have been forced to evacuate their residences on Spain’s Tenerife island due to a rekindled wildfire. This fire, originally ignited on Wednesday, has now affected communities in the island’s northeast, situated away from the primary tourist zones. High temperatures and strong winds have caused the same fire that ravaged the area in August to flare up once again.

To assist in firefighting efforts, Spain’s military has been deployed. Rosa Davila, president of the Tenerife Council, expressed hope that the deployment of multiple helicopters on Thursday would aid in stabilizing the fire. As a precautionary measure, most people have been evacuated from the towns of Santa Ursula and La Orotava, according to local authorities.

The Canary Islands, including Tenerife, have been on high alert for wildfires due to unusually high temperatures. Although the August blaze was brought under control, it was never completely extinguished. That wildfire persisted for several days and caused extensive damage to thousands of hectares of forest surrounding Mount Teide, Spain’s highest peak.

The increased frequency and intensity of heatwaves are attributed to human-induced climate change, which has caused global temperatures to rise by approximately 1.1 degrees Celsius since the start of the industrial era. Without significant reductions in emissions, temperatures will continue to climb.

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FIFA has confirmed that the 2030 World Cup will be hosted across six countries spanning three continents. Spain, Portugal, and Morocco are set to co-host the tournament, with the opening matches taking place in Uruguay, Argentina, and Paraguay to commemorate the World Cup’s centenary. This decision is expected to be ratified at a FIFA congress next year.

The choice of co-hosting the tournament across multiple continents has drawn criticism, with concerns raised about its impact on fans, the environment, and human rights. FIFA’s president, Gianni Infantino, emphasized the unique global footprint this approach would create, uniting Africa, Europe, and South America.

This proposal signifies a significant change for the World Cup, as teams may find themselves playing in two different seasons due to the hemisphere switch. If approved, Morocco will become only the second African nation to host a World Cup. Spain, Portugal, Uruguay, Argentina, and Paraguay will also qualify automatically as co-hosts.

In addition to the World Cup announcement, FIFA revealed that only bids from countries within the Asian Football Confederation and the Oceania Football Confederation would be considered for the 2034 finals. This led to Saudi Arabia announcing its bid for the 2034 tournament. The deadline for prospective hosts to express interest is October 31.

FIFA’s decision to expand the World Cup across three continents has raised concerns about sustainability and climate impact, given the significant air travel and emissions associated with such a large-scale event.

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Claudia Duarte Agostinho vividly recalls the fear she felt during the devastating heatwave and wildfires that swept through Portugal in 2017, claiming over 100 lives. The trauma of those wildfires left her and her siblings anxious about their future. Claudia, aged 24, her brother Martim, aged 20, and her 11-year-old sister Mariana are among a group of six young Portuguese individuals who have taken an unprecedented step by filing a lawsuit against 32 governments, including all European Union member states, the UK, Norway, Russia, Switzerland, and Turkey.

Their lawsuit accuses these nations of inadequately addressing climate change and failing to sufficiently reduce greenhouse gas emissions to meet the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. This groundbreaking case is the first of its kind to be brought before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg, potentially carrying legally-binding implications for the accused governments. The initial hearing took place recently.

These six claimants, ranging in age from 11 to 24, argue that the annual forest fires in Portugal since 2017 are a direct consequence of global warming. They assert that their fundamental human rights, including the right to life, privacy, family life, and freedom from discrimination, are being violated due to governments’ failure to combat climate change adequately. They have already experienced significant impacts, such as extreme temperatures forcing them indoors, restricting their daily lives, and causing health issues like eco-anxiety, allergies, and respiratory conditions. Remarkably, none of them seeks financial compensation.

The case’s proponents argue that the policies of these 32 governments are steering the world toward a catastrophic 3-degree Celsius global warming scenario by the century’s end. They demand urgent action to prevent unbearable heat extremes that threaten their health and well-being. In a 2021 study, the Lancet found widespread climate anxiety and dissatisfaction with government responses among children and young people worldwide, impacting their daily lives.

The governments, in their responses, contest that the claimants haven’t adequately demonstrated that their suffering directly results from climate change or Portuguese wildfires. They argue that there is no immediate evidence of climate change posing a risk to human life or health, and they question the ECHR’s jurisdiction over climate policy.

This David vs. Goliath case could have far-reaching implications, potentially binding these governments to increase climate action by reducing emissions and phasing out fossil fuels. It would also guide domestic courts dealing with climate change-related cases. A verdict is anticipated in nine to 18 months.

For Claudia, this case represents a glimmer of hope in an otherwise uncertain world. She contemplates the possibility of having children one day, but winning this case would mean that people are truly listening, governments are taking action, and a brighter future might be on the horizon.

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During a visit to the southern French city of Marseille, Pope Francis urged European nations to display increased tolerance towards migrants. Speaking at a gathering of bishops and young people from Mediterranean countries, the Pope emphasized that those risking their lives at sea should not be seen as invaders.

French President Emmanuel Macron was present during his address. The call comes amidst renewed debate on migration following mass arrivals on Italy’s Lampedusa island last week. Pope Francis stressed that migration is not an emergency but a reality that requires a wise and European response.

He also advocated for legal and regular entry routes for migrants, particularly those fleeing war, hunger, and poverty, emphasizing the duty of humanity to rescue those attempting to cross the Mediterranean.

The Pope’s visit to Marseille marked the first by a pope to the city in 500 years and included discussions on migration, economic inequality, and climate change.

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Venice is poised to greenlight a trial €5 (£4.30; $5.35) levy for daily tourists as a strategy to manage tourism. This fee will apply to all visitors aged 14 and above and necessitates advance booking for entry to the city. Simone Venturini, a city council member overseeing tourism, has disclosed that this trial period will take place during peak tourist seasons in the upcoming year.

Venice is grappling with the consequences of excessive tourism, and it’s among Europe’s most visited cities. Its compact size, measuring just 7.6 sq km (2.7 sq miles), hosted nearly 13 million tourists in 2019, according to Italian national statistics. Post-pandemic, visitor numbers are anticipated to surpass pre-pandemic levels.

The primary aim of this fee is to encourage day-trippers to select off-peak days for their visits. However, tourists staying overnight will be exempt from this charge. The city intends to evaluate and potentially refine this fee as necessary.

Earlier this year, Venice was suggested to be included on UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites in danger due to the impacts of climate change and mass tourism, which pose a threat of irreversible alterations to the city. In 2021, large cruise ships were banned from accessing the historic center of Venice through the Giudecca canal, a move triggered by a ship collision and concerns over pollution and erosion.

Nonetheless, it remains uncertain whether this daily charge will discourage tourists. Some, like Karina from Germany, don’t see it as a significant burden, while others like Cal, a student from Ireland, find it relatively steep for a day of sightseeing.

Venice is witnessing a growing exodus of residents due to the overwhelming presence of tourists. The shortage of long-term rental options for residents has become a pressing issue, with landlords preferring to rent to tourists during the summer season. Citizen associations, Ocio and Venissa, have conducted studies revealing that the number of beds available for tourists now exceeds those for residents. Many government buildings have been converted into hotels, a transformation that threatens the city’s identity as it shifts towards a tourist-centric model.

Maria Fiano, who heads Ocio, advocates for restrictions on tourist accommodations as a solution to the issue and expresses skepticism about the effectiveness of the daily fee proposed by the town hall, viewing it as a superficial measure.

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