‘We have to make the state more climate-proof,’ one official says in response to Germany’s floods.
transcript The flooding events we see in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and first of all, of course, our thoughts are with the victims, their families and their loved ones. The commission has already activated the mechanisms to support and help those member states in this very, very difficult catastrophic scenario. Science tells us that with climate change, we see more and more extreme weather phenomenons that last longer. Of course, we have seen extreme weather phenomenons like droughts or stark rain in the past. But it is the intensity and the length of these events where science tells us this is a clear indication of climate change and that this is something where we really, really it shows the urgency. This is important just in the frame that weve put forward now, a roadmap how to fight climate change, how to stop global warming. In it is also the possibility of huge opportunities for our economy, because we know that these fossil fuel-based economic model has reached its limit because it comes at the expense to nature and our planet. and The devastation in Europe caused by the severe weather came just days after the European Union announced an to pivot away from fossil fuels over the next nine years as part of plans to make the 27-country bloc carbon-neutral by 2050. Environmental activists and politicians were quick to draw parallels between the flooding and the effects of climate change. Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, the executive arm of the , that the was a clear indication of . It is the intensity and the length of the events that science tells us this is a clear indication of climate change, Ms. von der Leyen said. It shows the urgency to act. is a complex phenomenon with many causes, including land development and ground conditions. While linking climate change to a single flood event requires extensive scientific analysis, climate change, which is already causing heavier rainfall in many storms, is an increasingly important part of the mix. Warmer atmosphere holds, and releases, more water, whether in the form of rain or heavy winter snowpack. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germanys president, also blamed climate change for the floods: Only when we take action against climate change can we keep the events that we are now experiencing within limits, he said in a televised statement from Berlin. The impact of climate change is one of the issues that has been fiercely debated in before the September elections in which the Greens party is in the running for second place, behind the conservative Christian Democrats. The catastrophic results of the heavy rain in the past few days are largely homemade, said Holger Sticht, who heads the regional chapter of . He blamed lawmakers and industry for building in floodplains and woodlands. We urgently need to change course. Armin Laschet, the leader of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, said at a news conference on Friday, Our state is experiencing a flood catastrophe of historic scale. We have to make the state more climate-proof, Mr. Laschet said. We have to make Germany climate neutral even faster. is a correspondent based in Berlin who covers German politics, social issues and culture. She came to Germany as a Fulbright scholar in 1996, and previously worked for The Associated Press in Frankfurt, Vienna and the Balkans. writes about business from New York, focusing on the auto industry and the transition to electric cars. He spent much of his career in Europe and is the author of Faster, Higher, Farther," about the Volkswagen emissions scandal.