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Tuesday 13 December 2022

Climate Change - Now We’re Finding Out

One benefit to our free and fearless press from its saturation coverage of anything that emanates from the general direction of the Sussexes and their supporters is that rather less space is left to cover issues those press people would rather not talk about. And, given their lamentable record on the subject, climate change is something they definitely don’t want to talk about.

Anuncie Aqui in Algés, or maybe not (image from @SezDev on Twitter)

After all, the proliferation of climate change denialism published by them, presumably covered by the catch-all excuse of FREEZE PEACH, is well known. So while the UK freezes, they can tell readers that this is something that really isn’t happening, while just ignoring events in southern Europe that confirm the exact opposite. First, a little meteorology for everyone.

A large mass of cold air coming out of the near continent not only makes it cold for us, it tends to force weather systems coming off the Atlantic around it, and usually to the south. This happened at the end of 2008, when Spain and Portugal had some seriously wet weather around Christmas and the New Year, while the UK froze. Now it’s happening again, with worse results.

Again, the UK freezes, and again, the weather systems pass to the south. They make landfall in western Portugal, so it should surprise no-one that the first big city they encounter, Lisbon, is on an Alerta Vermelho, after another night of intense rainfall flooded out homes, shops, bars and restaurants, and put the city’s buses and trams out of action (Reuters report HERE).

The central Baixa area is off limits; the inundation has affected some areas for the second or third time; commuting is being discouraged; even access to the Ponte 25 de Abril has been subject to closures. That flooding began last month, when the Alcântara area was hit by a mini-tornado, flooding streets and sweeping away cars. There was more in early December.

Areas further west, such as Algés and Oeiras, have had flooding, and Alcântara has now been hit again. And what’s worse is that the weather is not done yet: there will be at least one more night of wet mayhem. Worse still, this comes after a year of almost unremitting drought across the Iberian peninsula. The rain has all come at once, which may not be A Good Thing.

How will reservoirs, dams and river catchments be replenished if much of what falls from the sky sheets off and returns swiftly to the sea? How will farms, and indeed all those vineyards, make use of downpours which are more hindrance than help? And what about the now mammoth task of clearing up all the debris and damage? Also, it’s not just about one country.

The intense rain from last week has moved east, causing disruption to southern France and much of Italy. Last night’s downpours are likely to do likewise. Some in the UK may cheer on our ability to sit this one out, but it will only be a matter of time before there is another spell of rain able to flood out the likes of the Thames and Severn Valleys, or Somerset Levels.

You can see variously graphic examples of the flooding and its aftermath HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE. Eric Holthaus, one climate change campaigner who clearly believes in telling it like it is, has been quoted as warning “We have left the era of fucking about and entered the era of finding out”. Climate change is important. It is real. And it is here now.

Lisboetas who have already seen three iterations of flooding are not out of the woods yet: starting in the small hours, the heavy and thundery downpours will restart and go on all through tomorrow. Those weather systems, in turn, will move east and batter Spain and Italy. Remember this well when the next climate change denier is given a platform by our broadcast media.

Those deniers say it isn’t happening. We know better. Because we found out.

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