Why saltwater must be prevented from ruining Italy’s rice fields | DW News

Why saltwater must be prevented from ruining Italy’s rice fields | DW News

July has seen record temperatures reached in parts of Europe as a heatwave swept across the continent. Though some have enjoyed the sunshine, it’s brought added misery to many European farmers. In Italy a prolonged drought means rice harvests are down as traditionally fertile lands dries up.

Recent heat waves have made one thing
clear the world is hotting up as
temperatures rise researchers are
warning the global economy faces major
losses if humanity fails to act on
climate change if we don’t slow global
warming in line with the paris agreement
global gdp will contract by 18
by the middle of the century according
to zurich based re-insurer swiss re it’s
warned that economies in asia will be
hit hardest in fact china is at risk of
losing nearly 24 percent of its gdp in a
severe scenario europe could lose almost
11 percent the world’s biggest economy
though the us stands to lose close to 10
so to discuss the risks facing global
economies and whether or not governments
are awake to these risks i’m joined in
the studio by ajit naranjan from dw
environment thanks a lot for being with
us so when we
talk about
economies being affected by climate
change what are we what are we actually
talking about what sort of impacts does
it have
so what scientists have shown is that by
having already burnt loads of fossil
fuels and heat to the planet
we’ve hurt the economies of these of the
entire world no country is immune from
this and that ranges from everything
from in a day like today where it’s
really hot where you’re sweating behind
your desk and unable to concentrate
properly
it reduces productivity through hot
temperatures but at least all sorts of
more severe effects for instance things
like
crop losses which mean that countries
are unable to feed their people even and
i mean as we’ve just seen that obviously
have huge knock-on effects across the
world but also to kind of some of these
more extreme wet events so things like
storms and hurricanes are becoming more
intense and stronger
where they wipe out coastal communities
destroy tourism industries
and it goes all the way up to the most
kind of unpredictable events which
obviously in a study like this you can’t
really factor in very well but things
like pandemics which are also becoming
more likely because of climate change
and we know that pandemic the lockdowns
that we experienced with covert
obviously had a huge effect on the
economy
so do you think governments are awake to
these risks and are doing enough to
mitigate them the short answer is
they’re not doing what they should be
doing if they were to treat this purely
rationally from an economic perspective
i mean i think that’s very clear
a country like the us even if we forget
about climate change for a second and
just think about the number of people
dying from
air pollution from fossil fuels
it would make financial sense economic
sense to switch clean energy purely on
those grounds alone then when you factor
in the heat waves when you factor in the
wildfires you think of old people across
the rest of the world suffering as a
result of this pollution it’s completely
not a rational choice that’s being made
on economic grounds here okay ajit
niranjan from tw environment thanks for
staying across that and you’ll be
keeping across it because it’s not a
problem that’s going away is it
now july has seen record temperatures
reached in parts of europe as a heatwave
swept across the continent though some
have enjoyed the sunshine it’s brought
added misery to many european farmers in
italy a prolonged drought means rice
harvests are down as traditionally
fertile lands dry up
rice farmer giorgio gelitori is
measuring the local water
he fears that salt water has seeped into
his field as a result of the extreme
drought
high salinity shows up in the foam we
have to keep an eye on that in the worst
case scenario we would have to shut the
supply down here immediately
to do that giorgio would have to flood
his rice field in the po delta one of
europe’s most fertile areas
but there’s been little rainfall in
northern italy since november
water levels in the po river are low
[Music]
this worries everyone because with
supplies running out our rice shortage
is becoming a problem for the entire
rice production chain
the po river water level has never been
as low
when the river’s water pressure falls
sea water flows upstream and salinities
rise
previous remedies are no longer
effective
take salt water barriers for instance
seawater has repeatedly surged over them
landing in the river
another solution artificial lakes to
trap river or rain water after rainfall
but there are still far too few of these
currently 90 of italy’s rainwater is not
captured
meanwhile the water situation is getting
worse
the region of nato has asked neighboring
south to roll to release more fresh
water from its power plants in the
mountains
but where is the water supposed to come
from
in the olton valley the tsukla reserve
power plant is at a standstill
the lake is only four percent full
there is nearly no rain here at all and
there is exceptionally little snow on
the peaks the glaciers have long since
melted
and so there is also no melt water
when we are uh
if we were to continuously deliver the
amount that the nato would need or had
requested all the reservoirs in south
tyrol would be completely empty within
20 days
[Music]
in northern italy people are already
talking about a water war
and the summer has only just begun

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